The 180 meter long, 32491 dwt bulk freighter Lucy Oldendorff caught fire near Tauranga, New Zealand. The fire started in the vessel’s cargo of palm kernels while it was en route to Tauranga from Pasir GudangMalaysia. The fire was extinguished when the crew sealed the hold and filled it with carbon-dioxide gas. When the vessel arrived in Tauranga, the crew reported smoke appearing from the hold. The local fire brigade was called to the scene. Using breathing apparatus, the firefighters removed smoldering palm kernels from the hold and doused them with water. No reports of injuries. Authorities suspect the fire was started from a fumigation canister that was placed into the hold.
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 18 meter long fishing vessel Rebecca May sank in the Bay of Plenty off the coast of Tauranga, New Zealand. The vessel was heading to tuna fishing grounds when the vessel began to take on water quickly. The three crew on board abandoned ship to the life raft. The RCCNZ, Rescue Coordination Center New Zealand, received a beacon signal and dispatched aircraft to the area. The fishing vessel Lady Columbo was nearby and rescued all three crew from the Rebecca May. No reports of injuries. Maritime New Zealand reported that there was large amount of debris where the fishing vessel sank. The cause of the sinking was not known and authorities are conducting an investigation into the incident.