More oil on shores of Matakana Island, new clean-up efforts begin

Press Release – Maritime New Zealand
Iwi and New Zealand Defence Force personnel will this morning focus clean up efforts on Matakana Island, after reports of more oil arriving on shore.

National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said it was thought the oiling was due to the release of heavy fuel oil from the stricken Rena several days ago. Lighter hydraulic oil being released around the bow section of the Rena appeared to be dispersing naturally, he said.

Mr Quinn also said reports yesterday of an oil slick south of the East Cape had been confirmed as algal bloom.

Other beach clean up operations would continue today, with two events focussed at Papamoa Beach this morning and a third at Maketu this afternoon.

“We’re conscious that as we head back into another working week that people will be busier, but we’d really appreciate anyone that can spare a few hours to pop down to one of the clean up events and help.”

Details of volunteer events today are:
* Clean up at Papamoa Beach, starting at the Hartford Avenue Beach Access, (opposite 370 Papamoa Beach Road), starting at 9.00am
* Clean up at Te Tumu (far eastern end of Papamoa Beach) starting at 9.00am. Access is via a gate at the end of Papamoa Beach Road and up a 3km gravel road across Maori land (access is fine for two wheel drive vehicles). The gate will be manned from 8.45am – 9.30am, but volunteers are asked to please be on site no later than 9.00am.
* Clean up at Maketu, starting at 2.00pm. The meeting point is the Whakaue Marae on Maketu Road.

Meanwhile, Maritime New Zealand Salvage Unit Manager Kenny Crawford said salvors had last night continued focussing on removing lighter oils from other tanks in the ship, after weather conditions yesterday forced divers to stop work on a coffer dam to seal off the passageway above the submerged no.5 starboard fuel tank.

“While removing the remaining 358 tonnes of heavy fuel oil from the starboard tank remains the salvage team’s highest priority, they are also taking the opportunity to remove hydraulic fluid and other lighter oils from other tanks in the ship that are easier to access.”

More than 1000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil has so far now been pumped from the Rena.

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