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Still too dangerous to assess shattered Rena

Thursday, 12 January 2012 | 00:00
Authorities say it is still too dangerous for divers to assess the state of the shattered Rena.There has been no change in the state of the wreck since its stern became mostly submerged yesterday morning.
The Svitzer salvage dive team is still waiting for conditions to ease before it can assess the condition of the submerged stern.
The dive inspection will determine how the salvage operation proceeds.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said yesterday the wreck needs to be removed eventually and won't be left as an artificial reef.
The cleanup is continuing along coastlines where oil, debris and containers washed up after the ship broke in two overnight Saturday.
Preparations are underway south of Tauranga which trajectory modelling shows could be next to be hit.
Oil is likely to reach beaches at Little Waihi and Pukehina from tomorrow evening, but Maritime New Zealand said that could be revised if conditions change.
Booms have been put in place at Maketu and Little Waihi today.
Environment Minister Nick Smith said yesterday the amount of oil that has been released from the wreck was "a single digit number of tonnes".
Around 300 tonnes were released in October after the ship ran aground.
National On Scene Commander Alex van Wijngaarden said aerial flights and cleanup teams have not recorded any significant amounts of fresh oil reaching shorelines.
The bulk of the oil had been removed from the ship, leaving residual pockets of oil the salvage teams were unable to reach due to the extensive damage on the ship, he said.
Tugs are in place to collect any further oil spilled from the wreck.
Oil cleaned up
Teams of up to 30 were cleaning oil at Matakana Island and Mount Maunganui.
A shoreline clean-up assessment team has worked from Te Tumu to Maketu today and found no evidence of fresh oil coming ashore.
However, an aerial observation flight this afternoon confirmed around 12 patches of sheen, each measuring approximately 100m by 50m. Dark patches of oil were visible within these patches.
MNZ said these patches of oil appeared to be breaking down naturally in the swell.
One further oiled penguin has been taken into the wildlife facility at Te Maunga, bringing the total to seven.
Debris recovered
There are no new reports of containers washing ashore.
Container recovery company Braemar Howells has deployed 12 vessels to collect containers and debris.
On shore, around 150 people are working on clean-up operations for Braemar Howells, collecting debris from containers.
Any members of the public interested in assisting with the clean up effort should register .
Six containers and their contents have been removed by road from Waihi Beach and recovery teams are working to remove 10 more, in an area stretching from Bowentown to just north of Waihi Beach.
Eleven containers will be removed from Matakana Island as soon as possible, MNZ said.
Rena's owners 'doing everything possible'
Meanwhile, the owners of the Rena have given an assurance they are doing everything possible to mitigate the effects of the ship's deterioration in the Bay of Plenty.
However, Costamare has been silent on whether it will pickup all the cost of the clean up.
Costamare says owners wish to assure all those affected, that the company continues to co-operate fully with Maritime New Zealand and other government departments to do everything possible to mitigate the effects of the situation.
Plans are currently being formulated for dealing with both parts of the wreck, Costamare said in a statement from Athens.
"These plans are to be discussed with government authorities and other experts in the field, to ensure minimum damage to the environment and disruption to the lives of those living in the area," the company said.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has said Costamare will have to pay the cost of the disaster.
Costamare said the company and its insurers continue to fund the salvage operation, including the recovery and processing of containers washed overboard.
"In addition we would also like to thank MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) as Time Charterer of MV Rena for the continuous assistance and full support given since the grounding," Costamare said.
"We would like to underline that MSC as Time Charterer is not a responsible party to this very unfortunate incident."
Source: ONE News
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