Latest news on MSC Rena

Resolve Salvage & Fire

  • Salvage work was greatly restricted over the past week, with six consecutive days spent off the water as a result of rough weather.
  • The RMG280 crane barge was also unable to operate during six of the past seven days.
  • However, on 12 October the RMG280 was able to lift its largest single piece of steel from the Rena – 27 tonnes.
  • Total steel landed and weighed this week was only 36 tonnes.
  • In excess of 700 tonnes of steel has been removed overall.
  • With the difficult and often dangerous underwater salvage phase now underway, future operations have become even more dependant on weather conditions.
  • ‘Weather days’ are anticipated and accounted for in project timelines. Resolve remains on schedule to complete the reduction of the bow to 1 metre below the low tide level by early 2013.

Braemar Howells/Unimar

  • Braemar Howells teams are continuing with beach inspections – focusing on an area which runs from Mount Maunganui to the coastal township of Pukehina.
  • Braemar Operations Manager Mike Richards says this work – to pinpoint any remaining Rena debris – will start from the base of Mauao, with teams equipped with quad bikes carrying out “close visual inspections.”
  • He says that so far, the results from this work are very encouraging. “We are naturally keen to ensure that popular beaches are in good condition for the expected influx of holidaymakers this weekend.”
  • Mr Richards says the stormy spring weather which has lasted a whole week forced a halt to the work of divers at the wreck site. The diver support and recovery vessel Tasman Challenger was re-deployed to assist with coastal inspections.
  • At sea, patrols are being stepped up to ensure the safety of boaties, as more small boat owners take to the water in coming weeks. The tug Maui is continuing patrols of the wreck site, but we are also planning how best to deploy a fast response craft should the need arise, Mr Richards says.
  • Mr Richards says boat owners are reminded that the exclusion zone around the Rena wreck exists for the safety of people working there, and boaties.
  • The number of containers recovered still stands 1007 following the identification of another container from the debris collected last week.

Braemar Howells and the Rena Environmental Clean Up

U.K.-based environmental cleanup specialist Braemar Howells is pleased to have spearheaded the cleanup of debris from the Bay of Plenty coast after the MV Rena grounding – working alongside many talented Kiwis and enterprises, local communities and volunteers.

The Rena owners and insurer – the Swedish Club – appointed Braemar Howells on October 12, 2011, to the task of dealing with containers and container debris released from the stricken vessel.

Within hours, Braemar Howells had mobilised an experienced incident response team to set up environmental control systems to limit the impact of damaged containers landing ashore. Comprehensive marine and shoreline response plans were drawn up.

Braemar has worked with a host of companies, organisations and individuals ranging from – to name but a few – marine service companies and Government agencies – to local iwi, coastal residents and lifeguards, says former Operations Manager Neil Lloyd, who guided the Braemar/Unimar teams for much of the year.

Mr Lloyd says a feature of the salvage and cleanup operations has been close cooperation between Maritime New Zealand staff, salvage companies such as Svitzer and Resolve, local councils and iwi – all united in a common aim. “That aim was to minimise the environmental impact of the Rena disaster and return the impacted coastline to a pristine state as quickly as possible.

“Let’s not forget local residents who turned out by the hundred to help clean beaches and pick up flotsam,” he adds.

“The presence of so many volunteers and their contribution has been quite unique in our international experience. We extend a big thanks to everyone who’s worked with us, and played some part, big or small.

“In spite of our wide, hard-earned international experience gained over many years in dealing with such incidents, the Rena cleanup has presented its own uniquely difficult challenges, Neil Lloyd says.

“These included, of course, Rena’s position on Astrolabe, a wave-swept offshore reef, and islands (with their small vulnerable communities) lying in the path of current-borne floating containers and debris.

“At times, we were dealing with a fast-moving and dynamic situation, thanks to ever-changing currents, winds and tides, which called for quick and innovative thinking.”

In drawing up comprehensive shoreline and marine response plans, Braemar called in some of its specialist staff from around the world with skills in marine operations, logistics, distressed cargo, hazardous chemicals and shoreline clean-up.

“But our key local ally has been Nelson-based Unimar Marine Services, who’ve provided a range of vessels from tugs to landing craft, and hard-working staff, for the testing marine conditions we’ve encountered.”

One of the biggest challenges came in early January after Rena, pounded by big seas, spilt into two sections. Braemar estimated that 200 to 300 containers of the approximately 830 remaining on board were lost overboard as the two parts of the ship separated.

Contingency plans were activated, and Braemar/Unimar recovery teams were able to tag a number of floating containers with buoys, and tie a number up to anchor points set up off the coast. Unimar’s marine teams succeeded in keeping the shipping lanes to the Port of Tauranga clear, dragging a number of containers away from the harbour entrance. Various vessels, ranging from tugs and barges to landing craft and fast response craft, were mobilised as weather permitted to intercept containers and debris at sea.

Braemar managed to swiftly tackle containers and debris which did reach land. One success story was the speedy clean-up in a few days of Waihi Beach where 17 containers and debris washed ashore. Well aware of the holiday period in full swing, Braemar’s recovery team swung into action with heavy machinery and labour teams to collect everything from damaged containers to packets of milk powder and timber. One hundred and seventy tonnes of material was removed in just four days. Matakana and Motiti islands, where more containers washed in, presented their own distinct recovery problems.

A great deal of the earlier operations around the Bay of Plenty coastline included abandoning high tech solutions for a “back to basics “ approach – recovering debris and containers through the use of qualified diving personnel, swimming or just walking around and collecting material.

“Most coastline areas were environmentally sensitive and difficult to access. It was in the everyone’s best interests that for the approach to be as gentle, yet as effective and efficient as possible, and that meant getting back to basics.”

Rather more sophisticated technology was employed in the hunt for containers and debris that wound up on the bottom of the ocean. Sonar-equipped vessels were used to sweep the coast in a grid search pattern. The coastline was divided into nine grid map zones in the hunt for wreckage, and searched out to a depth of 30 metres.

Later vessels equipped with ROVs ((Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles) were used in an extensive operation to lift containers and wreckage pinpointed at various locations on the seabed.

As the cleanup operation progressed, Braemar teams came up with innovative solutions to particular recovery challenges – such as the large quantity of plastic beads being washed ashore.

“There were 38 beaches on the Coromandel and they all required different recovery methods,” Mr Lloyd says. The first breakthroughs came as portable vacuum units were customised to operate more effectively, with a drum attached to a 15-metre hose. As time went on, and the beads continued to come ashore, a large vacuum system was trialled, based on a ‘billygoat’ beach-cleaning machine.

“All this equipment significantly increased our bead recovery rate,” Mr Lloyd adds.

The Braemar/Unimar team recognised very early the need to work hand in hand with local Maori and the small communities on both Matakana and Motiti Islands, in particular. Both were hit hard in terms of floating containers and other waterborne debris from timber to noodle packets . Braemar moved early in its operations to appoint a community liaison person whose key duty was to work with coastal communities and iwi groups, Mr Lloyd says.

Braemar also enlisted the help of local iwi to clear their own coastal areas, setting up a network of 11 hubs along the coastline – small coordination centres which could mobilise iwi and local workers whenever containers and debris washed ashore.

Braemar took early steps to deal with the major challenge presented by huge tonnages of recovered items and waste – from damaged containers to various forms of waste.

A specialised facility was set up at Truman Lane, Mount Maunganui (in the grounds of the council’s waste transfer station) to best deal with distressed cargo in a safe manner with environmental controls in place. Operated by Envirowaste, this facility was fully equipped to enable rapid and safe processing of damaged containers and perished cargo. Features of the facility included bays for de-oiling containers, and deodorising water-mist sprays along its perimeter fences.

In one example, Braemar teams recovered 167 tonnes of butterfat from the Rena wreck and repackaged it for recycling into biodiesel. The re-packaging was a tricky task because the product was in bladders that had “ballooned” out of shape when the cardboard boxes they were in disintegrated.

“We designed equipment that allowed us to squeeze the semi-soft material into one metre containers holding one tonne each. It was like juggling with jelly.

“Without the efforts of our team, including distressed cargo, port and waste specialists, and our local environmental partner, this would have been dumped into a landfill site. Instead, the processed butterfat went towards powering vehicles,” Mr Lloyd says.

Over the course of the Rena recovery project, some large quantities of cargo have been recycled or re-used for a different purpose, including timber, milk powder, scrap metal, cardboard and paper.

Braemar was also involved in initiating two auctions to benefit the Child Cancer Foundation. One of the ship’s lifeboats, and a 2003 Mercedes car salvaged from a container, were auctioned after being donated to the Child Cancer Foundation by the owners and insurers. This raised valuable funds for a worthwhile cause.

In terms of giving back to the community, Braemar has also ensured its sustainability policies and goals have been implemented, Mr Lloyd says.

“These focus on returning something back into the communities affected by incidents such as the Rena. Giving back has included the employment of local resources, use of contractors and the training and development of core and specialist skills within the local populous,” he says.

A satisfying mark was reached in September, as the 1000th container was recovered from the wreck of the Rena. And as September became October, that number stood at 1,003. A total of 1368 containers were onboard the Rena when she hit the Astrolabe Reef one year ago.

Given the number of environmental clean- up achievements accomplished by Braemar Howells over the past year it is arguably little wonder then, that the company has been nominated for the Lloyd’s List Annual Environmental Award for the work done – and continuing to be done – following the Rena incident.

Some figures

Containers Recovered 1003

Containers landed to date in the port 984

Container processed at Truman lane 249

Waste removed from Truman lane 4878 tonnes

Wood chipped 475 tonnes

Scrap metal waste Containers 1206 tonnes


Mercedes Rescued from Rena Wreckage to be Auctioned for Charity

TAURANGA, Tuesday 14 March 2012: A 2003 Mercedes C200 Kompressor, valued at over $15,000, salvaged from the wreckage of the Rena and restored to pristine condition by Tauranga businesses, is to be auctioned via TradeMe with all proceeds going to Child Cancer Foundation (CCF), Tauranga.

The auction will start on Friday 17 August and will run for two weeks. Those interested in bidding on the car can visit Safeway Auto Auctions on Totara Street, which has charitably provided a location for the Mercedes to be viewed leading up to, and during, the auction.

Fundraising and Business Development Manager for CCF, Delwynne Hahunga, says the organisation is overwhelmed by the generosity of those who have helped make the auction possible

“The Rena disaster had a huge effect on the Bay of Plenty, threatening wildlife and fishing waters as well as the local economy. We are so thankful for the enthusiasm and willingness of local businesses who want the car to go to a good cause, particularly Vero Marine Insurance who donated the car to auction.

“As you’d expect, the Mercedes did suffer some damage from the incident but Mount Maunganui Collision Repairs kindly took care of panel work on each side of the car. Ingham-Sears, the Mercedes-Benz specialists at the Mount, did some other minor repairs and, along with Tauranga Vehicle Certifiers, ensured that the car meets New Zealand road standards.”

Repairs are not the only thing being taken care of by big-hearted businesses in the area – the car has been insured until the point of sale by Bay Insurance Brokers who arranged cover with New Zealand Insurance.

Hahunga also praises the team at Braemar Howells, a maritime incident response team which has been tasked with the “massive job” of dealing with all cargo enquiries relating to the Rena disaster.


For further information:

Delwynne Hahunga

021 497859

Rena Operation Looks to Second Stage

Hundreds of containers have been removed from the Rena eight months after the ship grounded off the Tauranga coast – completing the first stage of the salvage operation.

Rena crashed into the Astrolabe Reef ealy on October 5. The cargo ship’s captain Mauro Balomaga, 44, and navigator Leonil Relon, 37, both faced charges under the Maritime Transport Act for operating a vessel in a manner likely to cause danger, under the Resource Management Act for discharging a contaminant and three charges under the Crimes Act for altering ship documents.

Balomaga also faced an additional charge of altering ship documents. They pleaded guilty to all charges and were last month jailed for seven months.

Since the grounding, a total of 940 accessible containers have been moved ashore. But more work needs to be done, with attention now shifting towards removing the wreck from the water, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said today.

While salvage company Svitzer have packed their bags, the owners and insurers of the Rena have issued a tender for the work.

Container recovery company Braemar Howells/Unimar would monitor the wreck site until the tender was awarded.

“We’ve established an exclusion safety zone which is being patrolled 24-7, and so far there have been no incidents or releases,” operations manager Neil Lloyd said.

“We can assure Bay of Plenty people that the wreck is not being left on its own unattended, as some media have incorrectly reported.

“We are extremely well placed to respond to any releases with a variety of tugs, barges and fast response craft, and well-tested response plans.”

Lloyd said low swell conditions allowed the Unimar team to lift five of containers from the seabed this week.

“While the fine weather this week meant we could push ahead, a huge amount of work has gone into this new phase in the recovery work, including safety preparations, and weight calculations,” Lloyd said.

“A specialised dive team using a vessel equipped with a decompression chamber was used; divers were sent down to pre-rig containers and prepare them safe lifting.”

Lloyd said the recovery team spent some months preparing – with sonar equipment and more recently a remote operated underwater vehicle – to fix the containers positions for recovery.

More containers in water less than 50 metres deep would be lifted off the seabed over coming weeks, when weather conditions allow it, he said.

Braemar response teams have recovered debris, including refrigeration foam, sawn timber, plywood sheets and plastic beads, from an area running from Pukehina to Matata and Waihi Beach.

Similar work was continuing on the Coromandel Peninsula where large amounts of small flotsam has been recovered from isolated coves. Areas including Sailors Grave and Hot Water Beach were still being impacted by plastic beads washing ashore.

Lloyd said the shoreline work was also continuing on Matakana Island, where some re-cleaning has been necessary. Operations were also planned for Motiti Island.

Rena disaster: High-tech gadgets go where no diver can

From submersible probes to smart phones, the ongoing job of cleaning up the Rena’s mess has been a triumph for gadgetry.

This month saw the first deployment of a remote underwater vehicle (ROV) used by environmental recovery specialists Braemar Howells, contracted to recover containers and debris.

Operations manager Neil Lloyd said the ROV had been part of the company’s contingency plan since the grounding last October and acted as its “eyes and hands” on the ocean bed.

The seabed around Rena has been described by salvors as a container “graveyard”.

ROVs were used in areas where sonar technology had mapped out potential debris from the ship but was too deep for divers to reach.

Capable of diving to depths of more than 900m, it undertakes visual inspections of large areas of sea floor.

If any containers were found, the ROV could use its manipulating arm to attach a magnetic transponder, while the team watching its camera could assess whether the container was damaged or intact.

“In some cases we can use the ROV to get the container number and determine what the cargo is, its priority for recovery, its potential impact should it release or break, or whether it’s either inert or is something that’s a danger to the environment.”

Both Braemar Howells and salvors Svitzer have been using transponders which, in the early days of the salvage, were attached to the more precarious containers.

There were two types of these “pinger” transponders – one model could send back signals for 30 days, the other could last for 18 months.

“The 18-month pingers generally go on objects more significant, such as debris that’s a lot deeper than the team can work at or small items that may take time to recover.”

The pingers also let the clean-up team know when a container moved.

Another type of beacon was capable of being dropped from an aircraft next to a container, which it would drift alongside, while other electronic sea probes were being used.

Sonar devices had played an important part in sounding out containers during the response and one type towed behind vessels – the SeaKing side scan sonar towfish – appeared to have been mistaken for prey by hungry sharks.

One of the most crucial gadgets in the company’s arsenal was the high-tech photoionisation detector, or PID, used to detect hazardous chemicals.

The communication equipment used ranged from satellite phones to the stock-standard smartphone – “probably the one thing that has come to the forefront of this operation that we haven’t used so much in the past”, said Mr Lloyd.

While there was still debris washing up on coastlines, particularly on inaccessible beaches, Braemar Howell’s main focus was now on recovering thousands of troublesome plastic beads.

At the lower end of the tech scale, six specially modified leaf vacuums sucked up and spat out sand on beaches – leaving the beads in the machine.


* Vacuum machines operated by environmental recovery specialists Braemar Howells have been used specifically to suck up thousands of plastic beads and other items spilt from the Rena.

* Sonar towfish devices, which have been targeted by sharks during the salvage, are pulled behind vessels to sound out containers in the sea.

* Transponder beacons called “Pingers” were fixed to the more precariously placed containers in the early days of the salvage.

Press Release: 18 April

The number of containers retrieved from the Rena wreck and brought to shore is fast approaching the 600 mark.

Container and debris recovery company Braemar Howells announced today that the total number of containers brought to port has been boosted to 597, after nine were retrieved yesterday, and four on Monday. A further 101 have been recovered from the sea and shore.

Meanwhile, good progress is being made on the clean up of loose debris washed up on Coromandel beaches after huge swells pounded the Rena wreck earlier this month.

Braemar operations manager Neil Lloyd says the priority remains to first clear the beaches where the impact of debris on the shoreline is most significant.

“It is crucial to target the high impact areas where debris is likely to be re-floated with rising tides and deposited further along the coast – we are working to prevent that happening,” Mr Lloyd says.

Activity this week has seen barges loaded by helicopter and boat with multiple bundles of timber and mixed flotsam from areas of coastline accessible only by water. A total of 87 helicopter lifts were achieved over the weekend alone, recovering more than 100 tons of debris.

Over the weekend the Braemar / Unimar team also successfully recovered the sunken wreckage of two containers from depths less than 30 metres.

While extensive clean up efforts have already seen a great reduction in debris, Braemar will continue to have a presence in the Coromandel for the “foreseeable future,” Mr Lloyd says.

Beaches already cleared will be revisited and re-surveyed.

Braemar has been ably assisted in its clean-up efforts by help from local resources such as Thames Coromandel District Council and Waikato Regional Council staff and volunteers.


<Background information: Braemar has been assisted from the outset in Rena-related operations by Unimar – a New Zealand specialist marine support company.>

Storms hinder Rena salvage

STRICKEN container ship Rena has suffered new structural damage after storms swept debris and boxes into the sea, raising new fears that oil from the wreck may come ashore. Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef in October. Swells up to 6m hit the reef overnight, changing the degree to which the stern section of the wreck is listing, damaging bulkheads in the stern section and causing structural damage on the forward section.

National on-scene commander Rob Service reported a light sheen of oil stretching less than one nautical mile east from the wreck. He said that while the amount of oil coming from the wreck was small, there was a risk that some might wash ashore. Maritime New Zealand said observers had noted dark patches of oil in the vicinity of the wreck and that shoreline clean-up assessment teams surveying the beach between Leisure Island and Tay Street this morning recorded droplets of oil along the high tidemark.

“We’ll be keeping a close eye on the movement of the sheen and our response team is ready for any fresh oil that reaches the shore line,” Mr Service said.

MNZ Tauranga response and recovery manager David Billington said: “This sort of movement and deterioration was not unexpected, given the rough weather conditions and that fact that the internal structure of the ship has been exposed to the elements for a long period.”

Mr Billington said container and debris recovery company Braemar Howells had recovered a container packed with milk powder north of Motiti Island, using a tug.

The Braemar team has been working to clear the debris from shipping channels and to prevent material reaching shore, deploying a plane, a fast response vessel, a barge and two tugs to gather floating debris that included timber and packaged milk powder. To date, 649 containers have been recovered ashore and a further 43 located. About 250 are estimated to remain below deck on the forward section of the vessel.

However, MNZ said obtaining an accurate count of containers to be recovered was extremely difficult, due to conditions around the wreck and the amount of container debris on the sea floor.

Mr Billington said navigational safety warnings remained in place, urging passing vessels to look out and, where possible, avoid the area between the wreck site and Motiti Island. Salvors have been monitoring Rena for further movement but Mr Billington said the vessel appeared to have settled again.

Storms hinder Rena salvage

Response team monitors oil sheen from wreck

Braemar update for MNZ Media Team 21st February 2012

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. Barge Subritzky discharged 96 bags and 1 reefer container last night

3. Barge Pohonui discharged 12 containers last night

4. Beach clean-up on Papamoa and Omanu

5. Beach and Marine teams working completed South Mataroa retrieving 1 container, timber and debris via heli ops and barge ops.

Braemar update for MNZ Media Team 20th February 2012

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. Barge Subritzky arrived last night and discharged 70+ bags and a container in 2 parts

3. Container total: 544 containers have arrived from Rena, 70 from the beaches total 614

4. Twine and floating pallets reported yesterday. 2 skips worth of twine and debris recovered from the area between Waihi beach to Mayor Island by use of 2 vessels and Heli sighting

Braemar update 20th January 2012 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. The container that was in Anzc bay was unloaded in-situ this morning and now has been removed by road

3. Bowentown Heads area – debris removal is continuing using both shore and boat teams

4. East Cape area – we have a boat team removing debris

5. Waihi Beach – beach teams working to remove wooden sheets and other debris

Braemar update 29th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. 6 containers were landed ashore today from the ST60. A Mix of damaged and sound containers.

3. Over the last 2 days there have been several reports from the public of meat, debris and dead animals reported on Papamoa beach from Harrison’s cut to Kaituna and at Makatu. Team has worked with surf lifesafing clubs, MNZ and locals to retrieve and dispose of all reported debris.

Team has worked with surf lifesafing clubs, MNZ and locals to retrieve and dispose of all reported debris.

Team has worked with surf lifesafing clubs, MNZ and locals to retrieve and dispose of all reported debris.

Team has worked with surf lifesafing clubs, MNZ and locals to retrieve and dispose of all reported debris.

Team has worked with surf lifesafing clubs, MNZ and locals to retrieve and dispose of all reported debris.

Braemar update 28th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. No containers discharged today, and none sent ashore.

3. Beach survey started at Papamoa and great deal of meat recovered again today.

4. Further reports of meat discovered on the South west coast of Motiti Island. Team addressed this today and removed them.

Braemar update 27th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. No containers discharged today, 7 badly damaged ones came in late last night on the Go Canopus.

3. Beach survey started at Papamoa and meat recovered. Further reports have highlighted more meat and plastic report late PM

4. Motiti Island container debris shored up, but team was unable to collect meat debris. Further reports of meat discovered on the South west coast of Motiti Island. Team will put together a work scope to recover all the meat.

Braemar update 23rd December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. 31 containers arrived on ST60 late last night early this morning. 8 reefers arrived this morning on the Pohunui. This afternoon just after lunch the Subritzky arrived with 8 containers. Thus bringing the total landed ashore to 301 containers.

Braemar update 22nd December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. Sutherland Ave completed. Please seee photos below.

3. Container work on Motiti Island continuing.

4. No update on containers coming in except ST60 due to come in approx 1830. All other containers and reefers have been processed.

Sutherland Ave completed

Sutherland Ave Completed

Sutherland Ave completed

Sutherland Ave completed

Sutherland Ave completed

Sutherland Ave completed

DATE: 20 December 2011    TIME: 11.15am

Rena update #136

  • A total of 24 containers were removed from the Rena yesterday. This brings the total number of containers removed from Rena by Svitzer to 243.
  • Weather conditions for operations over the few days remain relatively good, with seas of .5m and sea breezes of 10-20 knots forecast, turning from easterlies to south easterlies and then north easterlies until Monday.
  • There has been no change to the status of the vessel, confirmed by diving surveys.
  • The total number of containers washed overboard from Rena now stands at 89, with one damaged container recovered yesterday.
  • 247 containers have been processed and discharged by the container recovery specialists Braemar Howells Ltd.
  • This morning’s flight noted patches of oil, and a 3 km long metallic sheen about 20 metres wide heading northwest. Patches of rainbow sheen were visible for up to 7-8km off the western side of Mōtītī Island about half a kilometre from the coast. A SCAT team is checking Maketū spit and Pāpāmoa beach today.
  • All operations, including warm water rock washing and rock scraping at Mauāo, will continue today. A small team will check the area between Leisure Island and Tay Street on foot. Kulim Park’s rock wall will be reassembled after being taken apart and cleaned yesterday. The beach groomer will be operating at Ōmanu and Pāpāmoa East today, targeting the areas in front of the surf clubs and the main Mount beach. Teams are also on Mōtītī and Matakana Islands.
  • Three penguins were released at Leisure Island this morning, leaving 40 birds still in captivity. A check of Rabbit Island last night found no new oiled birds.

Braemar update 20th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. 25 containers arrived last night/this morning on the ST60. 8 reefers will be arriving on the Pohanui this afternoon.

3. There have been 3 reported sightings in different areas today of floating containers and debris. The team have gone out to identify and plan operations around recovery.

4. Motiti Island operations progressed today with the removal of the oiled waste for MNZ to be completed this afternoon.

Braemar update 19th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. Three (3) full containers with cargo intact arrived this morning on the Pohanui, and additional large number of containers from the ST60 and Subritzki unknown how many at this stage but expecting a large number.

3. The sixteen (16) containers recieved over the weekend have been processed.

Braemar update 18th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. 8 reefer containers were offloaded last night and have been proceed today through Truman’s lane. Another 8 containers are due to be discharged ashore this afternoon.

Braemar update 16th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. Two containers have been report as lost overboard last night. One, has been recovered and the contents of timber in the process of being recovered.

Two containers have been report as lost overboard last night

Two containers have been report as lost overboard last night

Rena weekly summary – update #133

  • Container removal operations have been hampered this week by bad weather, and a technical issue with the crane on the barge Smit Borneo. A total of 206 containers have now been removed from Rena. There were 1,368 containers on board Rena when it ran aground and 86 containers are believed to have washed overboard on 11 October. This leaves 1,076 containers remaining on board the wreck.
  • Svitzer engineers are working on a modification to address the problem with the crane.
  • The condition of Rena’s hull is continuing to deteriorate, with divers identifying changes to the buckling on the starboard side this week. While the motion detectors attached to the hull of the wreck do not suggest any significant movement, Rena remains in a fragile state.
  • While container removal operations have been suspended, salvors have worked this week on attaching patches to the internal corridors of the wreck to improve buoyancy.
Container recovery
  • The Braemar Howells container recovery team has been working in the wider Bay of Plenty area this week.
  • The team has recovered debris from Te Kaha and Mōtītī Island, where teams are continuing to work.
Oil spill response
  • The sheen around Rena has remained around the wreck, at times stretching out to around 5km.
  • The sheen stretching away from Rena has primarily been rainbow sheen, suggesting a very light distribution of oil – however, observation flights have identified darker patches around the wreck.
  • Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Teams have continued to check the beaches from Pāpāmoa to Mt Maunganui, including Leisure Island and Mauāo, where little blue penguins have been released.
  • Clean-up operations have targeted high priority areas where wildlife releases have been planned or undertaken. Targeted areas have included Mauāo and Matakana.
  • Warm water washing at Mauāo has continued with good results, while beach clean-up teams have followed up on reports from the public of tar balls coming ashore.
  • There have been a number of wildlife releases this week, with 46 penguins released at Mount Maunganui this morning, in front of a large community turnout.
  • This leaves 61 little blue penguins and 2 dotterels remaining in care at the oiled wildlife facility.
  • Wildlife teams conducting ongoing monitoring of birds already released into the wild confirmed some of the dotterels pre-emptively caught early in the response operation and subsequently released at Pukehina are already breeding.
  • Oiled wildlife teams continue to conduct night operations to check on penguins released around Mauāo to ensure they are not being re-oiled.
Weather outlook

There is a strong wind advisory in place for the Bay of Plenty. North east winds are expected to gust around 35 knots, easing this evening.

Winds of around 15-20 knots are forecast for the next couple of days with the weather expected to improve after Saturday.


Braemar update 15th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. 203 containers have been removed from the RENA and landed ashore. 1076 containers remain on board with 3 currently on standby vessels.

3. Keith Manch, Executive Officer and Director of MNZ visited Truman Lane facility.

4. The team have been working with the surf lifesaving clubs and have provide PPE and advice to the surf lifesavers patrolling the beaches from Mt Maunganui to Maketu.

5. To date Braemar have received over 50 reports of container and debris of which they have investigated and/or addressed.

Surf Club PPE Packs

Container or Container Debris Recovery Procedure

Container or Container Debris Recovery Procedure

Braemar update 14th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. Team is consolidating resources in preparation of upcoming beach work, island work and container management operations.

Braemar update 13th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. Beach clean up team worked with MNZ today to remove a collection of oiled waste MNZ volunteer groups had collected across Motiti Island, in conjunction of the debris removal.

3. A team are at Te Kaha surveying the beaches after a report of oiled container debris advised yesterday.

Braemar update 12th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. To date 180 containers have been landed ashore. 42 Reefer containers have been processed through Truman Lane. 823 tonnes of waste have gone to landfill and 84 tonnes have been recycled.

Braemar update 10th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. Container operations have commenced again today with a mix of containers being removed from the RENA and being processed as appropriately within the port and facilities.

3. East Cape concluded yesterday with all resources returned to Tauranga until there are future reports.

4. Sonar work completed in Zone 2 and is progressing in Zone 6.

Braemar update 9th December 2011 for MNZ Media Team

1. Safety is paramount in all operations

2. White Island surveyed, no positive sightings of debris found. Thus concluding East Cape unless further reports/sightings occur.

3. Boat team continued on Motiti Island to continue removal of debris.

Zone 2 sonar survey operations concluded yesterday with the vessels moving onto Zone 6 today with no positive targets

Dive team recovering broken container sections

Dive team recovering broken container sections

MSC Rena

Containers recovered from the MSC Rena being brought form the MSC Rena to Tauranga Port with the Braemar Howells chartered tug and barge


Salvage teams have pumped all of the oil out of a cargo ship stranded off New Zealand, officials say.

The Rena, which got stuck on a reef and was in danger of breaking apart, initially leaked 350 tonnes of oil, killing more than 1,000 sea birds.
Salvage operations had been hampered by bad weather, and there were fears of a widespread environmental disaster.
But Maritime New Zealand said it had now finished pumping oil and would send in a crane to remove the cargo.
There are still about 1,300 containers to be removed from the ship, which will also be moved off the reef.

Disbelief to relief

Stuart Crosby, mayor of the city of Tauranga, said the result was tremendous.
“The salvors have done an amazing job under treacherous conditions to avoid an environmental disaster,” he said, according to the New Zealand Herald.
“I guess we’ve all gone through a series of emotions that we all do in this type of event. There has been disbelief, frustration, anger, and now relief – relief that the oil has been taken away by these great people.”
The Greek-owned and Liberian-flagged cargo ship ran aground on 5 October on Astrolabe Reef, 22km (14 miles) from Tauranga Harbour on New Zealand’s North Island.
The region, the Bay of Plenty, is popular for its long, sandy beaches and abundant wildlife, including rare sea birds, penguins and dolphins.
Environmentalists had warned of disaster if all 1,700 tonnes of oil and 200 tonnes of diesel originally held on board spilled from the vessel.
The ship’s Philippine captain and second officer have been charged over the incident.