Ten months have past since the container ship Rena went aground on Astrolabe Reef. The bow section still remains above the surface, but has increased its list from 22 degrees to 32 degrees. Salvors are still working on removing the wreck of the reef. Helicopters are lifting 1 to 2 ton cut pieces of the hull to a nearby salvage vessel. This removal is slated to take some 100 days to complete. The stern section remains below the surface between 10 to 80 meters deep. No decision has been made to the final outcome of the stern section.
Focus has been on shoreline clean-up work of plastic particulates. The plastic has been washing up along 38 beaches around Tauranga. The pollution is spread over a wide area. Containers are also being removed from the seabed. By August 2012, some 977 out of 1368 containers have been recovered. Many containers are being recovered using ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles) from depths up to 50 meters deep.
The latest reports on the salvage of the Rena still continues as there are over 350 containers remaining on the bow section. To remove containers has become more difficult for the salvage teams. The bow section sits in area which makes it difficult for the crane ship Smit Borneo to get close enough to pull some containers off the vessel. So, tugs have been employed to pull containers overboard with the crane recovers them from the water.
Still More Oil
An oil slick is still visible coming from the submerged section of the stern. Reports state there might be at least ten tons of oil trapped in pockets in the stern. Oil continues to wash ashore around Tauranga and Motiti Island. The water around the wreck is also being checked for toxins. The decomposing contents of containers can make the water too toxic for divers in normal dive suits. No reports on how salvage teams will remove the containers still trapped in the stern.
More photos released by Maritime New Zealand of the Rena’s stern sinking including 3D images of the stern’s current position on the reef. Reports state the tug Go Canopus did attempt to reposition the stern section of the Rena so that the barge Smit Borneo could maneuver closer when salvage would resumed. Divers will inspect the stern to verify if the barge can be position over the submerged section.
The stern took less than 30 minutes to sink.
The total number of containers lost overboard is estimated near 250.
The stern section still had some 400 containers in the stern when it sank
13 vessels have been deployed in salvage operations