Rena response 'flawed'

03:10, Dec 03 2013
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The crippled Rena, with  a growing oil slick, off the coast of Mt Maunganui.
The crippled Rena, with a growing oil slick, off the coast of Mt Maunganui.
Rena
DEFORMED: Damage to the Rena's structure.
Rena
CLEAR SPELL: Salvors are racing against time to remove oil from the Rena before bad weather hits late on Monday, October 17.
Rena
Aerial shot taken in the morning of Sunday, October 23, showing a sheen of oil that had leaked from the Rena overnight.
Rena
Photo taken by salvage team looking out of Rena's bridge showing the list of the vessel against the horizon.
Rena update
The container retrieval vessel SeaTow 60 being positioned next to the Rena.
Rean salvage
Salvage crews continue to slowly remove containers from the Rena.
Rena, January 5
Portside damage seen on the on the morning of Thursday January 5.
Rena breaks up
The Rena has broken in two, with the pieces 30m apart.
The Rena
The break up has raised fears of more pollution.
Waihi beach
The scene at Waihi beach, January 9, 2012.
The rear end of the Rena is slipping off the Astrolabe Reef.
The rear end of the Rena is slipping off the Astrolabe Reef.
The rear section of the Rena.
The rear section of the Rena.
Clean up teams in action near Bowentown.
Clean up teams in action near Bowentown.
Debris washed ashore at Waihi beach from the sinking cargo ship Rena.
Debris washed ashore at Waihi beach from the sinking cargo ship Rena.
The rear section of the Rena.
The Rena.
The rear section of the Rena.
The Rena.
The rear section of the Rena.
The Rena.

The response to the Rena oil spill - New Zealand's worst maritime environmental disaster - was flawed, but has ultimately been effective, according to an independent review released today.

The report, by independent reviewer Simon Murdoch, found that Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) was initially overwhelmed by the Rena incident and ''struggled to achieve functionality''.

''The pressures of the Rena incident caused MNZ, across its systems and response machinery, to buckle initially,'' Murdoch said.

The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The crippled Rena, with  a growing oil slick, off the coast of Mt Maunganui.
The crippled Rena, with a growing oil slick, off the coast of Mt Maunganui.
Low tide showed the extent of the problems facing the Rena's specialist salvage team.
Low tide showed the extent of the problems facing the Rena's specialist salvage team.
The crew had remained onboard despite the vessel's list.
The crew had remained onboard despite the vessel's list.
Rena - Listing
LISTING: Waves break over the reef while the Rena sits, stranded.
The ship has 1368 containers on board.
RENA: The ship has 1368 containers on board.
Rena crew
INJURED: A naval officer is carried to an ambulance after a member of the salvage crew fell on him during the evacuation of the ship.
Rena lists in heavy seas
This photo taken from the HMNZS Endeavour shows Rena listing in heavy seas. Between 30 and 70 containers fell from the Rena overnight.
Containers on the Rena's top deck
Many containers on the Rena's top deck are tipped on a heavy angle, close to toppling off.
Rena
POUNDED: Waves crash onto the listing Rena's deck.
Container ashore
A container coming ashore on the northern side of Motiti Island, which is around 7km from the ship grounding site.
Rena - Motiti Island
The first container to hit the rocks and break-up on the northern side of Motiti Island, which is around 7km from the ship.
crack appearing in the middle of the Rena's hull.
This image shows a crack appearing in the middle of the Rena's hull.
Containers fall off Rena
Rena losing containers as heavy swells wash across the ship's deck on the starboard side.
Rena crush
Containers have also been crushed as heavy swells wash across Rena's deck.
Rena - Salvage operation
An Air Force Iroquois helicopter lowers crew onto the Rena, Thursday October 13. What looks like smoke billowing from the ship is probably milk powder, Fonterra said. There were 90 containers of the product on the ship.
Rena - Salvage operation
An Air Force Iroquois helicopter lowers crew onto the Rena.
Rena - Salvage operation
The slick drifting from the Rena, seen from the air, Thursday October 13.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopter winches a salvage expert onto the stricken container ship Rena.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopter winches a salvage expert onto the stricken container ship Rena.
Rena
DEFORMED: Damage to the Rena's structure.
Rena
HEAVY DAMAGE: Rena lists to starboard, with the damage to her hull clear.
Salvors have attached platforms to the stricken ship Rena.
Salvors have attached platforms to the stricken ship Rena.
Platforms salvors have attached to the Rena as they attempt to resume pumping oil from the stricken ship.
Platforms salvors have attached to the Rena as they attempt to resume pumping oil from the stricken ship.
Containers ashore
Containers from the grounded cargo ship Rena are removed from east of the main beach at Mt Maunganui after washing ashore.
Rena
HEAVY LIST: Rena's cargo sits precariously on the deck of the ship.
Rena
HANGING IN THERE: The Awanuia sits behind the Rena and its leaning stack of containers.
Rena
CLEAR SPELL: Salvors are racing against time to remove oil from the Rena before bad weather hits late on Monday, October 17.
Rena
A Maritime NZ diagram shows how the Rena is grounded on the Astrolabe Reef.
Rena
A Maritime NZ diagram shows how the Rena is grounded on the Astrolabe Reef.
Rena
Calm conditions around Astrolabe Reef on Thursday, October 20, allowed these close up photos of the Rena's stern to be taken.
Rena
Rena's remaining containers hang precariously. More than 80 containers have fallen overboard. Many have come ashore, and others are being located on the seabed.
Rena
Rena's bow is broken and twisted from the impact with the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga.
Rena
The ocean washes in and out of the wide fracture on Rena's starboard side.
Rena
Aerial shot taken in the morning of Sunday, October 23, showing a sheen of oil that had leaked from the Rena overnight.
Rena
Photo taken by salvage team looking out of Rena's bridge showing the list of the vessel against the horizon.

''Some of its planned and exercised response functions had limited resilience to begin with and were impaired in ways that might have damaged the response as a whole.''

However, many of those interviewed for the review said that "it could have been a lot worse".

The Rena grounded on the Astrolabe Reef off the Mount Maunganui coast on October 5, 2011, causing the ship to leak oil and spill containers into the sea.

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Rena breaks up
The Rena has broken in two, with the pieces 30m apart.
Rena breaks up
More containers have fallen off the Rena after it broke in two.
The Rena
The break up has raised fears of more pollution.
Rena breaks up
The Rena's cargo holds could clearly be seen during a flyover this morning.
Rena cargo on Waihi Beach, January 9, 2012
A container from the Rena washed ashore on Waihi beach, January 9, 2012.
Rena cargo on Waihi Beach, January 9, 2012
A container from the Rena washed ashore on Waihi beach, January 9, 2012.
Rena sacks on Waihi beach
Sacks from the Rena on Waihi beach.
Waihi beach
The scene at Waihi beach, January 9, 2012.
Waihi beach debris
Onlookers on Waihi beach check out the containers and debris.
Rena cargo at Waihi beach
Onlookers flock to Waihi beach to check out the Rena cargo.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said that while the response was not as efficient as it should have been in the initial stages, it improved quickly and became very effective.

"The review makes it clear that the Rena grounding was one of the most complex maritime response challenges in the world and would have tested the limits of any plan.''

Brownlee announced today a $2 million package to help MNZ improve New Zealand's wider maritime response capability.

MNZ director Keith Manch said the organisation was already implementing a number of the review recommendations and the funding package would help improve the response to maritime incidents.

"The review identifies a range of areas for improvement including: being better prepared (strategically and operationally) across government and with response partners; having greater capability and training; improved administration; revising the structure of the incident command centre; and better engagement with communities and iwi," Manch said.

A summary of MNZ's response to the Rena grounding

Initial response

* Many positions and teams mobilised quickly, but those not adequately specified in the national contingency plan or untested were slowest to become fully functional.

* The Director of MNZ used statutory powers appropriately.

* Problems arose for the planned response in matters of strategic oversight, front-rear coherence, high-level co-ordination and control, and maintenance of public confidence.

Long-term response

* Preparations for oil on shoreline and beaches were satisfactorily executed despite being technically impaired.

* On-board oil removal operations became very effective and reduced risk.

* Dangerous goods risks were managed down gradually.

* Containers and container debris removal operations on water reduced risks to beaches, sea-lanes and shorelines.

Source: Independent Review of Maritime New Zealand's Response to the MV Rena Incident on October 5, 2011.

TIMELINE

2011

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5

The Tauranga-bound cargo ship Rena hits Astrolabe Reef at 2.14am.
Reports say the ship carrying around 4700 containers is on a 10 degree list and is leaking oil.

OCTOBER 6

Divers inspect ship, pollution response team mobilised, transport investigators begin inquiry, first oil-covered wildlife found dead, salvors appointed.

OCTOBER 9

First attempt to pump oil off Rena.

OCTOBER 10

Oil begins washing up on local beaches.

OCTOBER 11

It is estimated that up to 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil has leaked from the ship.

OCTOBER 12

Captain Mauro Balomaga, 44, and navigation officer Leonil Relon, 37, charged with operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk and granted name suppression, more containers lost overboard in heavy seas, crack appears in hull of ship.

NOVEMBER 2

Resource Management Act charges laid against Balomaga and Relon.

NOVEMBER 13

The bulk of the oil left on Rena removed from the ship.

NOVEMBER 16

First container removed from rear section of Rena.

DECEMBER 21

Balomaga and Relon charged with wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice by altering the ship's documents after it grounded.

2012

JANUARY 8

Rena splits in two after storm.

FEBRUARY 24

Wildlife response team stood down.

FEBRUARY 29

Rena captain, Balomaga, admits all charges laid against him, navigation officer Relon pleads guilty to two charges.

MARCH 8

Interim report into the grounding finds the crew took shortcuts on journey and hit reef travelling at 17 knots.

APRIL 4

Stern section sinks after rough seas.

APRIL 5

Rena's owner, Greece-based Daina Shipping charged with discharging harmful substances into sea.

MAY 25

Balomaga and Relon sentenced to seven months' jail for offences relating to the grounding. The men were not fined.

OCTOBER 4

Simon Murdoch, former boss of the Government Communications Security Bureau, named as head of an independent review of Maritime New Zealand's response to the Rena grounding.

OCTOBER 10

Prime Minister John Key confirms Daina Shipping Company will pay $27.6 million to settle the claims of the Government and public bodies, including Maritime NZ, Bay of Plenty Health Board and the Transport Authority

OCTOBER 26

Daina Shipping Company fined $300,000 after pleading guilty to a Resource Management Act charge of discharging harmful substances.
2013

AUGUST 29

Government offers up an extra $542,000 towards the Rena cleanup to monitor water quality and shellfish, restore shorelines and protect wildlife. It takes the total taxpayer bill to $2.42 million,

DECEMBER 3

Murdoch releases his independent review of Maritime New Zealand's response to the Rena grounding, making six recommendations.

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