Rena update (update 74)

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Rena update (update 74)

4 November 2011: 10.30am

Clean-up operations around the Bay of Plenty are continuing, with volunteer efforts concentrating on Papamoa Beach today. A total of 7,773 volunteers have now registered with the volunteer clean-up programme.

Twenty-five volunteers have spent the past five days on Mōtītī Island, clearing the rocky foreshore of oil. They join volunteers from the local iwi, who have been regularly working on the island since Rena grounded. Oil has come ashore at the north-west and north-east of the island.

Operation Beach Clean manager Pim De Monchy said the call went out last week to registered volunteers who were prepared to spend a week on the island.

Mr De Monchy said 68 responded, providing enough cover for teams to be rotated if necessary over the next couple of weeks. They were joined by Australian rock clean-up specialist Peter Braddock, who provided advice on cleaning oil from the rock pools.

“The focus of the clean-up is on oil that is easily collected from the rocky shoreline,” Mr De Monchy said.

“We are fortunate in a sense that Mōtītī Island has a coastline with rough seas. This actually helps with the removal or degradation of the oil.”

The volunteers are the guests of iwi on the local marae, who are working along side them. During high tides, when they can’t access the shore, volunteers have helped in the marae gardens. 

Mōtītī Island Volunteer Coordinator Ngawiki Dickson said the locals were extremely grateful to the volunteers.

“A week is long time to commit, especially when the work is all along the rocky terrain of the island. Everybody is working very hard and pitching in, which is great to see.”

All volunteers have been equipped with protective clothing suitable for the environment they are working in.

Large quantities of timber and various other pieces of container debris have also washed up on Mōtītī Island. Specialist container removal company Braemar Howells is continuing work to remove this debris from the island.

Maritime New Zealand Salvage Unit Manager Bruce Anderson said a team of three salvors had remained on Rena overnight, to continue pumping the lube and hydraulic oils in the engine room into a centralised tank.

Svitzer hoped to begin pumping these fuels onto Awanuia by the end of the day.

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