Topic: NZDF involvement with Rena (as at 2011 October)
A summary from the November 2011 Hauraki News (65th), the regiments association newsletter.
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The Bay of Plenty community is continuing to support oil spill response efforts, with thousands of volunteers registered to assist beach clean-up operations. Locals have also been offering support in other ways. National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said members of the local community had been delivering baking and food to hard-working clean-up crews on the beach. “The teams have been overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity and kindness of the local Bay of Plenty community.” “Its very hard physical work cleaning up oil, and this has really given a boost to those people out on the beaches and around the shoreline. Mr Quinn also paid tribute to the fantastic contribution of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). “They are out on the water ensuring the shipping lane into the port is clear from containers and that the exclusion zone is not breached, they are on the beaches in the clean up operation, and they are assisting with aircraft. “It really is a team effort and it is tremendous to watch everyone pull together in this way.”
New Zealand Defence Force
- The NZDF continues to support Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) in providing a whole of government approach to the crisis involving theRena.
- 382 Defence Force personnel are currently assisting the oil spill response operation.
- Approximately 140 NZ Army personnel from the 2nd Land Force Group, based at Linton Military Camp, have formed shoreline clean up teams for the purpose of removing oil and salvage from affected beaches.
- Additionally, assessment teams have also been working alongside other agencies to identify those areas requiring clean up, with particular emphasis given to the area from Opotiki to Cape Runaway. This has enabled MNZ to identify and prioritise potential spill areas and staging sites should the situation worsen.
- A number of Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have also supported the recovery efforts. HMNZS Pukaki continues to patrol the naval exclusion zone in order to prevent vessels from entering the area surrounding Rena.
- HMNZS Manawanui remains berthed in Tauranga Harbour ready to provide additional naval support if required, and a Mine Counter Measure Team has continued searching the main shipping channel in order to identify potential hazards (including submerged containers) along the sea bed. This has ensured that the harbour has remained open for the purpose of salvage operations, and allows commercial vessels to enter the harbour safely.
- MNZ has also been supported by both Iroquois and Seasprite helicopters provided by the NZDF. These aircraft have been able to conduct long range reconnaissance of potentially affected areas, and have also been used to airlift salvage personnel on and off Rena.
- They are also prepared to conduct search and rescue operations should the need arise.
- Salvage teams yesterday attached four platforms to the side of Rena and set up equipment in anticipation of a fuel recovery operation.
- This morning, the team expects to use extractor fans to remove gases from the fuel tank to make the area safe for salvors to work.
- It is hoped fuel recovery operations will begin today – the speed of the operation will depend on a range of factors including weather, the stability of the vessel and the viscosity of the oil. This will be a long process.
- Weather conditions are expected to remain good for salvage operations throughout today and tomorrow. The sea state is expected to rise on Monday night.
- The tanker Awanuia is in position in anticipation of receiving oil from Rena.
- Members of the public who want to help are urged to go through the official volunteer programme. There are now just under 5000 registered volunteers.
- There are situations where attempting to clean the beach without specialist knowledge can cause more harm than good. For example, the dunes along the coastal beaches in the Bay of Plenty have a wide variety of vegetation that is critical to the whole ecosystem.
- Dune systems can be seriously damaged if people walk on them or handle them roughly.
- Any cleaning of dunes along the coast will be done by trained responders using specific shoreline clean-up techniques that will cause the least environmental impact to these important plants.
- More than 500 volunteers are expected to assist today with beach clean ups at Papamoa and Maketu. There have been 618 tonnes of oiled sandy waste recovered.
- There are now 36 rare dotterels in the purpose built aviaries in the wildlife facility.
- There are 140 live birds currently being treated and a total of 1018 dead birds recovered. Note: some of these figures are estimates, and are subject to change.
Update – 18 November 2011.
The New Zealand Defence Force’ s role in cleaning up Bay of Plenty beaches from the oi l washing up there from the leaking container ship Rena i s at an end. The NZDF personnel removed over 922 tonnes of oily waste from the beaches before the end of their work on Thursday.
Maritime New Zealand’ s Scot t Read commends the work done by the NZDF personnel . “From Mount Maunganui to Papamoa, Rabbit Island, Leisure Island and Matakana Island, Defence Force teams have been working tirelessly to clean-up the beaches. “We’ve had around 487 personnel involved since the response began and we’re extremely grateful for their energy and ability to get the job done.” Commander Joint Task Force Lieutenant Commander Muzz Kennett says they have had an average of 120 troops on the ground at any one time and removed about 8.5 tonnes of oily waste in the last 10 days alone. “Although troops returned to their respective bases and homes on Thursday, 50 personnel will remain on standby ready to respond within 24 hours should further assistance be required.
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