Rena update (update 63)

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Rena update (update 63)

30 October 2011: 7.30am

Salvors hope to begin pumping water from the space around the Rena's starboard 5 fuel tank later today, after installing the second part of a dam that will allow them to access to the tank’s manhole.

Maritime New Zealand Salvage Unit Manager Kenny Crawford said the second of two patches forming the dam had now been installed, with salvors now finalising the sealing of the patches. Once this was completed, water could start being pumped from the space.

In the meantime, oil had continued to be pumped from the vessel’s other tanks overnight, Mr Crawford said. (Note that an up to date figure will be provided at 3.30pm today).

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said aerial monitoring of oil sheen around the Rena and of the Bay of Plenty coastline was continuing, with shoreline clean up assessment teams this morning working around Matakana Island and other areas as required.

Mr Quinn said while there had been no fresh reports of oil overnight, small quantities of oil continued to leak from Rena – from the duct keel and/or pockets within the vessel, where it had previously been trapped.

"This is causing a light sheen in the immediate vicinity of Rena, but the north-east conditions mean that it could head ashore, with some landing along Papamoa, possibly today or tomorrow."

Defence Force personnel will also today be checking up to 50 kilometres of coastline for oil deposits.

Mr Quinn said there were various volunteer clean ups organised for today, and encouraged anyone with a few hours’ spare to help out. "It looks like its going to be a beautiful day in the bay, so it would be fantastic to see as many people out there as possible to give us a hand." More information about today’s clean up events can be found at on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's website.

He also reiterated previous requests for the public not to drive on the beaches or in the sand dunes.

"Vehicles make the matter worse because they spread contamination from oil on their tyres, creating secondary oiling, and they compress surface oil into the sand where it gets buried. By driving through sand dunes to avoid getting oil on their vehicles, drivers are threatening an already fragile ecological environment."

A community meeting will be held at Maruohinemaka Marae, Waihau Bay at 2pm today, to update people on the oil spill response.

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