'Gumboot' sized oil patties wash ashore from Rena

07:15, Oct 19 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.

"Gumboot" sized oil patties have washed-up along precious parts of the Bay of Plenty coast today while debris from Rena's containers have ended-up as far as the East Cape, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said.

The cargo ship, which has spilt oil and containers in an environmental disaster, remains stuck on the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga after running aground two weeks ago.

Maketu, where "gumboot" sized oil patties have washed ashore today, has an estuary which is home to colonies of threatened New Zealand dotterel and other wildlife.

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.

"We think that oil is probably relocating from the rocky shorelines," MNZ's national on-scene commander Ian Niblock said.

Meanwhile residents of Waihau Bay on the East Cape have found oil-covered container debris on their beach today, including pieces of polystyrene, timber and bags of milk powder.

A 'concerned resident' who lives near the beach, some 250km east of Tauranga by road, said she came across the debris while out for her morning walk.

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"It's not a good look," she said of the beach that acted as the backdrop for the hit New Zealand movie Boy.

There was also talk of a container washing up at Te Araroa, at the northeast end of the cape, she said.

A Maritime New Zealand spokesman said observational teams had been sent to the Waihau Bay.

They had found oil-coated polystyrene blocks from some of the 88 containers that had toppled off Rena had washed ashore.

It was being cleared away.

Papamoa and Mt Maunganui have also had further oil wash ashore today

No oil has been pumped from the stricken-ship today and it wasn't expected that any would be removed before tomorrow as strong winds and rough seas continue to hamper salvage efforts.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said it was a "real waiting game".

The crack on the starboard side of the ship hasn't changed in the last couple of days. The ship was still in a precarious position.

"You can't confirm at all that it won't literally break up at some point... we're hoping it stays together until such time when oil pumping can start again - hopefully tomorrow."

Joyce said there was a lot of work ahead "in terms of oil response".

Some navy vessels that had travelled to Tauranga from Auckland had since returned but were on standby and could be back in Tauranga within six hours, salvage master Drew Shannon said.

RENA CAPTAIN IN COURT

The Rena's captain and navigational officer have appeared in court and been remanded on bail until November 2.

Tauranga District Court was packed with media for the hearing, where the pair faced charges under section 65 of the Maritime Act for "operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk".

Crown lawyers had advised more charges were likely to be filed under the Resource Management Act before their next appearance, the captain's lawyer Paul Mabey QC said.

A lawyer for New Zealand's major media organisations, Keith Catran, spent much of the hearing arguing against further name suppression.

The real grief in the case came from the community and they were entitled to know the men's identities, he said.

"It's not a case when publication of the names can affect their families or their communities," he said.

However Judge Robert Wolff sided with Mabey and the navigational officer's counsel Mark Beech, who were concerned for the men's safety.

Publication of their names and photos did not add anything to reports, Wolff said, and would only underline the risk.

While the hearing continued, the men sat attentively in the witness stand, both wearing navy blue.

OIL DRILLING PROTEST

The court appearance came as protesters marched through Tauranga against offshore oil drilling.

The group, led by Whanau A Apanui, was estimated to be around 150 strong.

"The cost is too great for our country to bear," Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei told protesters.

Around 25 police were keeping a close eye on the group, who were waving placards with messages such as: "Do you like uranium with your cup of tea?".

Early reports that the Rena was carrying uranium have been discounted.

Protesters said they were also supporting hapu member Elvis Heremaia Teddy, 44, from Opotiki, who faced charges in the Tauranga court today in relation to protest action against oil giant Petrobas.

INSURANCE COVER CONFIRMED

The owners of the Rena, Costamare, said today insurers The Swedish Club would meet their obligations in full, including pollution liabilities.

''The owner's obligations in this situation will be met in full. Both Costamare and the Swedish Club deeply regret that this accident has occurred and that environmental damage has resulted,'' the marine insurer said.

NO PUMPING TODAY

Pumping has been put indefinitely on hold as adverse weather conditions continue to batter the damaged Rena.  

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) salvage manager Andrew Berry said salvors were on board the ship but were unable to connect the fuel hose to the bunker vessel Awanuia due to large swells.

"You can hear the movement inside the ship and see the cracks moving but that should settle down as the swell dies down," Berry said.

However, there was no timeframe set for pumping to resume.

While Rena remained hard on the reef, its stern section had developed more of a "kink" overnight.

"The aft section has moved further to the left but not to the point where the salvors can't get aboard," Berry said.

The booster pump was ready to go as soon as conditions were suitable.

Divers were also working on the starboard tank today.

Berry said the cracks in the ship were not reparable.

"Clearly the ship is not in the same condition as it was two days ago, or five days ago."

There was still enough stability for the salvors to be on board, Berry said.

There had also been no new reports overnight of oil on beaches, MNZ National On Scene Commander Ian Niblock said.

Teams would today clean up oil that came ashore late yesterday along a 3km stretch of beach near Harrison's Cut.

Oil was spilt on Monday night in the rough seas, which had created an "oil sheen" on a three-kilometre radius of water around the Rena.

The remains of a container had washed ashore at Te Kaha, while another container had been reported at Te Araroa this morning, MNZ said.

Beaches were relatively clear of oil and so it was likely that no clean-up crews would be dispatched today.

BOOSTER PUMP HOPE

Hopes of stopping the Rena spewing tonnes of oil into the sea were pinned on the booster pump, without which it would take two weeks of unhindered pumping to remove the 1300 tonnes of fuel from the ship's hull.

About 350 tonnes of oil had poured from the 47,000-tonne container ship into the sea.

Salvors on the ship had to abandon their efforts to remove oil at 11pm on Monday when rough seas made the operation too risky, and have not been able to resume pumping.

The pumping system created by the salvors has so far transferred about 90 tonnes of oil 160 metres through a 7.5-centimetre-diameter pipe to the bunker barge Awanuia.

The consistency of the oil, the size of the pipe, the distance it must be moved and the power of the pump have restricted its movement off the Rena to an average of three to four tonnes an hour.

At four tonnes an hour it would take 325 hours – 13 1/2 days – of constant pumping to empty the Rena.

The rate of pumping would increase once the new booster pump is in place, though officials could not say by how much, and portable steam units were being sourced in a bid to heat the oil and speed its movement through the pipes.

The salvage team was looking at whether the ship's auxiliary systems could be used as a power source.

MNZ salvage manager Andrew Berry said the ship remained in a "very dynamic" state. "While the forward sections remains firmly pinned to Astrolabe Reef, the stern section does move backwards and forwards to some degree with the waves and changing tide."

It was hard to determine where the new oil seeping from the Rena was coming from on the ship, but it was thought to either be from the duct keel or the bow.

The oil sheen being created by the leaks was being blown out to sea and was breaking up naturally in the water,  Berry said.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce said yesterday the ship "had a mind of its own" and today was crucial for the outcome of the oil recovery effort.

"The ship doesn't appear to have deteriorated in this first part of inclement weather but there is another bout of weather coming. It is very precariously placed."

Bad weather also led to the cancellation of cleanup efforts on the areas beaches yesterday. There were now 207 live birds in care as well as three seals, and 1290 dead birds had been recovered.

Prime Minister John Key met members of Tauranga's Chamber of Commerce yesterday to hear the concerns of businesses badly affected by the Rena.

The chamber said there might be as many as 100 businesses suffering as a result of the oil spill, Key said.

He did not rule out the possibility of a support package being put together. "It depends what happens next with the ship and how successful we are at getting the oil off."

- MICHELLE COOKE, KIRSTY JOHNSTON and CLIO FRANCIS