Rena update (update 40)

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Rena update (update 40)

21 October 2011: 7.00pm

Salvage operations on board the cargo vessel Rena are progressing slowly but steadily, with a total of 171 tonnes removed from the vessel by this afternoon.

The port number 5 tank from which fuel is being pumped originally held 772 tonnes.

MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Bruce Anderson said the key focus for the salvage team today had been to establish continuous pumping off the vessel, and they had achieved that.

“Their focus now is on getting that flow happening more quickly. They have a range of options they will be testing to speed up the process – they will be working through these over the next 24 to 48 hours.

“The oil is very difficult to work with and is flowing very slowly at present. However, the team will be doing everything they can to get it moving faster.”

Mr Anderson said the team would continue pumping overnight, if weather allowed.

“We have fine weather forecast until Wednesday so we are taking advantage of the good weather while we can.”

This afternoon, the National On Scene Commander Alex van Wijngaarden reopened the Mount Maunganui beach from the base track through to Tay Street (approximately 3km).

The beach was now open for public use, but not for swimming.

Captain van Wijnngaarden said the beach had only been opened after careful assessment of the beach. Further public health information is available on the Toi Te Ora - Bay of Plenty District Health Board website.

He reminded the public to be careful and to call 0800 OIL SPILL if they came across any oiled areas.

“People should still stay out of the water, and avoid collecting shellfish or fishing in areas which have been contaminated by oil.”

Mount Maunganui Surf Lifesavers would not be on the beach tomorrow.

Captain van Wijngaarden said the maritime exclusion zone around Rena had now been reduced to less than half its previous size. Details of the reduced exclusion zone are available on in the Rena incident section of the Maritime New Zealand website.

Five volunteer events will be taking place along the coastline tomorrow, and these will be managed through local iwi, the Defence Force and the volunteer coordination group.

Beach clean-up crews have recovered a total of 827 tonnes of solid waste

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