Containers, oil to spill from 'dying' Rena

07:48, Oct 17 2011
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.

Three salvage crew members will remain on board Rena overnight to continue pumping oil off the wrecked ship.

The 47,000-tonne cargo ship ploughed into the Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga on October 5, spilling more than 350 tonnes of oil and dozens of containers into the sea.

Salvage crews have pumped about 70 tonnes of oil off since the container ship became grounded, but bad weather could jeopardise the operation overnight, Maritime New Zealand says.

Clean up
LONG JOB: Volunteers help clean up the oil from the beach at Mt Maunganui.
Oil residues on Omanu beach at the 5 1/2 km beach entry point, Tuesday morning.
DEBRIS: Oil residues on Omanu beach at the 5 1/2 km beach entry point, Tuesday morning. Photographer Todd Murdoch says: 'I could smell the oil close to my house which is located 1km back from the beach.'
Oil on the beach near Mount Maunganui.
Oil on the beach near Mount Maunganui.
Sunny, 9 years, with his dead fish on Mt Maunganui beach.
Sunny, 9 years, with his dead fish on Mt Maunganui beach.
rena oil spill on Mt Maunganui Beach
Tauranga resident Chris Munro on Mt Maunganui beach, Wednesday morning.
penguin
COVERED: A bird lies dead on Mt Maunganui beach today.
Penguin
UNSURVIVABLE: A bird that has been washed up on the beach, coated in oil.
Papamoa
CASUALTY: One of the penguins that died following the oil spill. This was found at Papamoa just after high tide today.
Public meeting in Tauranga to discuss the unfolding disaster.
Environment Minister Nick Smith (centre) and Transport Minister Steven Joyce (right) at a public meeting in Tauranga to discuss the unfolding disaster.
Papamoa clean up
CLEAN-UP: Volunteers help clean up the oil from the beach at Papamoa
Papamoa clean up
CLEAN-UP: Volunteers collecting oil sludge from the beach at Papamoa
Papamoa clean up
CLEAN-UP: Papamoa beach is covered with oil sludge
Papamoa clean up
SPOILED: Papamoa beach is covered in oil
Albatros
CRIPPLED: A wandering albatross covered in oil in Tauranga
Albatros
SOILED: Oil blobs at the Maketu shoreline
Clean up
WAITING COLLECTION: Scores of bags full of oil await collection in Papamoa.
Clean up
LOADING: Bags full of oil are collected from the beach at Papamoa.
Oil washes up on Papamoa Beach.
Oil washes up on Papamoa Beach.
Container on Mt maunganui beach
A container from the stricken Rena, washed up on Mt Maunganui Beach, Thursday October 13.
Container on Mt Maunganui beach
A woman walks past a container from the stricken Rena, washed up on Mt Maunganui Beach, Thursday October 13.
Container on Mt Maunganui beach
A man walks on Mt Maunganui Beach, with a container from the stricken Rena in the distance, Thursday October 13.
The bleak scene as containers wash up on Mt Maunganui beach.
The bleak scene as containers wash up on Mt Maunganui beach.
Police check a container that has washed up on Mt Maunganui beach.
Police check a container that has washed up on Mt Maunganui beach.
Packets off meat patties from a container off the Rena have washed up on Mt Maunganui beach.
Packets of meat patties from a container off the Rena have washed up on Mt Maunganui beach.
Papamoa Beach oil clean-up
The clean-up operation on Papamoa Beach, Thursday October 13.
Papamoa Beach
Oil on Papamoa Beach, Thursday October 13.
Containers at Papamoa Beach
Containers washed up at Papamoa Beach, Thursday October 13.
Containers at Papamoa Beach
Two containers seen at Papamoa Beach on Thursday October 13.
Oil booms are prepared at the Maketu Estuary in the Bay of Plenty, Thursday October 13.
Oil booms are prepared at the Maketu Estuary in the Bay of Plenty, Thursday October 13.
Territorial soldiers from Auckland clean up Papamoa Beach, near Tauranga, Thursday October 13.
Territorial soldiers from Auckland clean up Papamoa Beach, near Tauranga, Thursday October 13.
Oil scooped from the surface of the water inside the Rena shipwreck's 1km exclusion zone.
Oil scooped from the surface of the water inside the Rena shipwreck's 1km exclusion zone.
Rena container
STRANDED: One of the Rena's broken containers which washed up on Mt Maunganui beach. Pictured Friday, October 14.
Rena container
PULLED ASHORE: One of the Rena's broken containers which washed up on Mt Maunganui beach. Pictured Friday, October 14.
Rena container
SALVAGE:Containers sit in the water on Mt Maunganui beach. Pictured Friday, October 14.
Rena containers
SCATTERED: Containers on the beach just south of Mount Maunganui.
Rena penguin
A little blue penguin awaits transportation to the National Oiled Wildlife Recovery Centre in Tauranga.
Rena Container
ON THE MOVE: A container is hauled off the beach.
John Key Rena
Prime Minister John Key attended a public meeting in Papamoa and went in a helicopter to see the Rena.
Container Rena
Containers on Mount Maunganui Beach.
Volunteers clean up packets of burger patties from the broken contanier washed up on Mount Maunganui Beach.
Volunteers clean up packets of burger patties from the broken container washed up on Mount Maunganui Beach.
A seagull shows the effects of the spilt oil at Makatu.
A seagull shows the effects of the spilt oil at Makatu.
Advice about wildlife that may be affected by the Rena oil spill, at Mt Maunganui.
Advice about wildlife that may be affected by the Rena oil spill, at Mt Maunganui.
Little Blue Penguin gets a clean
Wellington Zoo vet Baukje Lenting with a Little Blue Penguin that is at Tauranga’s Bird Recovery Centre having oil cleaned from it using a toothbrush.
PM John Key views Little blue Penguins
PM John Key visits the Bird recovery Centre where he watches Little blue Penguins that have been cleaned of oil.
Protest rena
MAKING A STAND: Protesters gather outside the Tauranga District Court ahead of the appearances of the Rena's captain and navigator on Wednesday, October 19.
Protest rena
AGAINST DRILLING: Protesters march against offshore drilling ahead of the appearances of the Rena's captain and navigator in the Tauranga District Court on Wednesday, October 19.
Rena protest
EN MASSE: Protesters march against deep sea drilling in Tauranga, ahead of the appearance of the Rena's captain and navigator in court.
Rena protest
IN NUMBERS: Protesters march against deep sea drilling in Tauranga.
Waihau Bay - rena
Debris covered in oil have wash-up at Waihau Bay on the East Cape where Taika Waititi's Boy was filmed.
Rena Bruce Goff
Oil responder Bruce Goff with the Terminator oil skimmer ready for deployment. on Sunday, October 23.

Close to 1300 tonnes of oil remains on board.

Svitzer Salvage team leader Captain Drew Shannon said the main priority was the difficult task of removing oil from the wrecked ship.

“We are also working feverishly in the background with planning and logistics on the removal of containers."

A booster pump is likely to be operating by this evening, while a steam unit is already making it easier to remove the oil, he said.

Shannon did not want to speculate on the effect tonight's predicted bad weather may have on the Rena.

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said the swell was expected to reach up to 2.5 metres with the 30 knot winds hitting tonight.

Meanwhile, "patties" of oil from Rena have been found as far away as White Island today.

“There's been a light amount of oiling, although because it's weathered, emulsified oil in the form of palm sized patties, they’re relatively easy to collect and remove,” Quinn said.

Oil was expected to wash up along the coastline towards East Cape in the coming days.

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Workers were helping to clean up White Island, Quinn said.

OIL POSSIBLE AT OPOTIKI AND EAST CAPE - NIWA

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research today said oil could wash ashore at Opotiki and East Cape beaches later this week, as strong wind currents continue to push it in an easterly direction.

NIWA released a video showing where oil leaked from the grounded cargo ship Rena is expected to end up.

It shows the leaked oil engulfed Motiti Island's coastline, was pushed ashore on to Tauranga beaches and then started moving in a south-east direction late last week, giving the beaches some much-needed respite.

Forecasted wind currents were expected to drive the oil towards the coast overnight, and then continue moving it eastward, NIWA principal scientist Mike Revell said.

The northerly forecast could push the oil as far as Opotiki and the East Cape.

"It will drift towards the shore but not for too long - only 12 hours - and then it will continue in an easterly direction," Revell said.

It was expected to be pushed towards the shore from 7pm today.

The video shows little red dots, representing oil, being released into the ocean from the ship's location and then tracked, according to wind currents.

'HAIRY' SITUATION ABOARD RENA

MNZ salvage head Bruce Anderson said crews would work as fast as they could to get oil out of Rena, but it was not an easy job.

"At the moment they are pumping Marmite through a three inch (7.6cm) hose over 160 metres," Anderson said.

"The salvors are boosting and tweaking their system. They will keep transferring oil for as long as they possibly can."

Three salvors had stayed on the vessel through the night, after providing an evacuation plan, and nine were on board today.

"It was hairy. This thing is creaking, groaning, it's a vessel dying."

The ship had broken up and was sitting on the reef in two parts, he said. However, this afternoon MNZ said that was not the case. "Salvage experts advise that while the Rena is cracked port and starboard, it remains together in one piece and is in the same position as it has been for the past week."

Anderson stressed the situation was still precarious, and a swell had been been putting pressure on the hose between the Rena and the ship Awanuia.

"We are going to have quite choppy seas overnight and I wouldn't be surprised if we lose more containers overnight," he said.

"The main thing about the weather is being able to keep the Awanuia stable [beside the Rena]," Anderson said.

"We are anticipating there will be problems with the transfer later on"

If the salvors had to evacuate the ship, the would seal the fuel tanks, he said.

"The last thing they want is to cause a spill"

The windy conditions could also push more oil onto the coast overnight and push containers further out to sea.

There have been containers spotted as far east as White Island and they were currently being corralled in two spots, one near Mt Maunganui and the other off Motiti Island

Officials said earlier that more oil will leak from the ship.

The warning came as forecasts predicted winds of 25 to 35 knots later today.

"Night-time operations have given us additional lead time, particularly given the expected change in weather conditions forecast for later today," Anderson said.

"The team has encountered a number of technical difficulties, but the calm conditions and the forecast for the next 24 hours give them a good opportunity to get this work under way."

"This is a hugely challenging and risky operation even in full daylight – these are incredibly brave and dedicated people working very hard to protect the beaches and coastline of the Bay of Plenty and the communities who use them."

However, Anderson warned people to expect more oil to spew from the Rena. "How much oil we don't know yet, when, we don't know yet."

The Rena was precariously placed, with around 60m of the vessel hanging off the reef into deep water. "The only thing holding that vessel ... is the buoyancy of all the air in the engine room. There is every chance the vessel could slip off the reef."

BEACH REOPENS

Yesterday, some locals rejoiced after officials reopened a section of beach previously closed due to the oil spill. But many beaches still remain closed and there is a ban on swimming.

The small area of beach between Mt Maunganui along to Moturiki Island was opened after assessments of the beach and water quality were deemed clear.

Hamilton man Greg Gerrand and his son Rhys, 6, were pleased to finally get to the beach.

"We were quite gutted because the kids love playing on that beach.

"You can see the ship on the horizon and you can see the oil on the sand."

Transport Minister Steven Joyce, who spent yesterday in Tauranga, was meeting Kevin Clarke, the Australasian managing director of Mediterranean Shipping Company, which leased the Rena, in Wellington this morning.

"I'm just hoping to get a much clearer view as to how they view their involvement. I think it's important to have a reasonably frank discussion with them as to how they see their role in this."

About $4 million had been spent on oil clean up operations, but that did not include the cost of salvage.

Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley spent yesterday meeting commercial fishing operators who worked in the exclusion zone around the Rena.

He said his team was working very closely with the chamber of commerce to get a good picture of the affects of the disaster.

He would receive a report this week on the impact of the commercial fishing industry.

Fish caught in an oil exclusion zone - between Mt Maunganui and Maketu - cannot be sold for safety reasons and the Government was considering offering support to the commercial fishing sector.

- Fairfax NZ