Friday, October 21, 2011

More oil pumped from the crippled MV Rena off the Bay of Plenty, NZ...

TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 12: In this ha...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeTAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 12: In this ha...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeTAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 13: In this ha...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeTAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 12: In this ha...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeAll of the containers on Rita have been loaded...Image via Wikipedia

More oil pumped from crippled ship...

Maritime New Zealand says 171 tonnes of oil has been pumped off a badly damaged container ship of the coast of Tauranga.

The Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef on 5 October, spilling up to 350 tonnes of oil and shedding 88 containers into the ocean.

Work resumed on Thursday to transfer the oil from the ship to a barge following heavy swells during the week.

More oil has been transferred from the Rena to a barge on Friday.

Maritime New Zealand's salvage unit manager says a specialist was on board the ship on Friday to fine-tune the operation.

Bruce Anderson says the salvage team encountered problems on Friday including a booster pump that needed to be replaced and a 15-minute power outage.

Mr Anderson says a dive platform has been constructed so divers can start working around the ship's starboard side.

The salvage team will continue pumping overnight on Friday, weather permitting.

"We have fine weather forecast until Wednesday so we are taking advantage of the good weather while we can."

Mount Maunganui beach open

Maritime New Zealand says part of Mount Maunganui beach has been reopened to the public after it was fouled by oil and debris.

The section of beach up to Tay Street was opened on Friday afternoon.

Maritime New Zealand's commander on the scene Alex van Winjgaarden says more of the beach may be reopened to the public for the long weekend, but there is still some oil appearing along the shore.

Public access to the beach from Tay Street to Maketu Point, including the Maketu Estuary, remains restricted.

The exclusion zone surrounding the Rena has been reduced.

The Bay of Plenty regional council says the reduction is possible because oil and containers from the ship have been contained, reducing the risk of injury or damage due to navigational safety hazards.

The council says vessel operators need to maintain an active lookout for response vessels helping with the oil recovery.

It has also asked people to contact Maritime New Zealand if they see oil or containers in the water.

Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

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