Rena update (update 47)

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Rena update (update 47)

24 October 2011: 7.00am

Good weather is allowing salvage operation on board the cargo vessel Rena to make good progress, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.

A team of three salvors remained on the ship overnight working on a new fuel transfer system, established yesterday afternoon.

MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Bruce Anderson said fuel pumping had stopped yesterday afternoon for a few hours while salvors installed a new pump and hose.

The diameter of the new hose was 6 inches (about15 centimetres), so double the size of the previous hose.

“That hose is used to take fuel out of the tank, and it then splits into two separate 3 inch hoses, each fitted with booster pumps. Those hoses then take the fuel to the Awanuia,” Mr Anderson said.

The day crew of around 12 salvors will be on board Rena today continuing to explore ways to remove fuel from the ship as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A total of 337 tonnes of oil had been pumped from the Rena by 1pm yesterday. This fuel has all come from the port number 5 tank, which originally contained 772 tonnes.

A dive team confirmed yesterday that the submerged starboard tank, which holds 320 tonnes of oil, was intact.

Mr Anderson said it was good news that the starboard tank had not been breached.

“The fact that divers found the starboard tank intact is excellent. We hope to start recovering oil from this tank soon.”

The forecast is for good weather until at least Thursday.

There are no reports of fresh oil spilled from the vessel overnight. It was estimated between 5 and 10 tonnes of oil spilled from the vessel on Saturday night.

Aerial observation flights today will monitor this fresh oil. Current trajectory modelling predicts it will continue to move slowly offshore in a northerly direction.

National On Scene Commander Rob Service said on-water oil recovery operations yesterday recovered a small amount of oil.

“We acted immediately upon receiving confirmation of the slick yesterday and sent four vessels with offshore booms and skimmers.

“However, even in the relatively calm conditions yesterday it was still very difficult to recover much oil. Now the oil has weathered in the marine environment for 24 hours it is even more difficult to recover with skimmers, but we will continue to monitor the oil and prepare to respond if it reaches any shoreline.”

Volunteers who have been assisting with the clean-up have all been invited to the Mount Maunganui main beach (between the Mount and Leisure Island) to meet Phil Keoghan from the television show The Amazing Race. He will be on the beach between 9am and 11am today.

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