Rena update (update 92)

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Rena update (update 92)

13 November 2011: 10.30am

Pumping of heavy fuel oil from the submerged number 5 starboard tank on the container ship Rena has temporarily paused, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

Salvors recognised around 1am that they had reached the interface between the oil and water in the tank and were beginning to pump seawater.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) Salvage Unit Manager Arthur Jobard said the pumping process was reaching its final stages, and was slowing down.

"The salvors have reached the point in the tank where the oil and water meet. They have suspended pumping to allow more oil to float to the surface and will resume pumping a bit later on today.

"It's a matter of being patient and allowing the oil to rise to the surface so it can be extracted."

Mr Jobard said work was continuing to strip the remaining accessible oil in other parts of the ship.

Salvors were working to remove residual oil from the port number 5 tank.

The port number 5 tank held 772 tonnes of heavy fuel oil when Rena grounded. Salvors ceased pumping oil from this tank on 27 October, leaving only remnants of oil.

Mr Jobard said as part of the "stripping" process, salvors were now revisiting this tank to remove the last few tonnes.

National On Scene Commander Rob Service said shoreline assessment and clean-up was continuing around the Bay of Plenty.

Wildlife night operations teams were out last night patrolling Mount Maunganui for oiled little blue penguins.

National Oiled Wildlife Response Team Coordinator Helen McConnell said the teams had targeted the birds' burrows.

"Our night patrol teams have been finding very few oiled penguins coming ashore. Last night they went out to check whether there were oiled birds in the burrows to make sure we weren't missing any.

"The good news is they checked 65 little blue penguins and collected only one oiled penguin."

Ms McConnell said the team had identified some oiling on Leisure Island, which could affect the penguin population there. Shoreline clean-up assessment teams were following up on these reports today.

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