New Zealand: Underwater Steel Cutting to Begin on Rena

Steel removal operation from the Rena wreck is entering the next stage, namely underwater steel cutting.

As confirmed by the Salvage Master for Resolve Salvage and Fire, Francis Leckey: ” the positive helicopter progress now allows Resolve to focus on getting divers into the water to begin the next phase of this demanding and, at times, dangerous project – underwater steel cutting.”

To enable the underwater cutting phase to begin, Resolve’s team is busy preparing the dive support barge RMG280, which is presently berthed in Port of Tauranga. Once all preparations are complete, the barge will take up station adjacent to the wreck and the underwater phase of the wreck reduction project will commence. The first team of divers is in place and the second team is being assembled.

With regard to clean-up of beaches Braemar Howells’ clean-up teams will be out in force next week cleaning up beaches after continuing rough weather.

Coromandel and Matakana Island hot spots will continue to receive special attention. Operations manager Mike Richards says bad weather has historically stirred up debris so it is prudent to wait for the weather to settle and then collect debris.

Sea conditions this week have been too rough for the divers to operate. “The conditions on the reef – in terms of the swell and currents – don’t always reflect what the more favourable weather forecast is telling us,” Mr Richards says.

The number of retrieved containers stands at 1003.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council continues to oversee the Rena oil spill response.

People are encouraged to report any sightings of oil to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention Hotline on 0800 884 883.

The Regional Council also continues to work with wreck removal and debris recovery contractors to ensure the risk of further oil spills is managed. Resolve Salvage and Fire has an oil spill contingency plan in place and have response equipment and trained staff at the wreck site. Braemar Howells has oil spill response equipment on their vessel patrolling the 2 mile exclusion zone.

Steel removal from the Rena wreck continues with daily helicopter operations using McDermott Aviation Bell 214 heavy lift helicopter. The total steel weight landed ashore is now more than 650 tonnes.

Press Release, September 28, 2012; Image: MNZ

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