Oil recovery teams head out on the water last morning to collect oil spilled from the cargo vessel Rena.
The teams spent day before yesterday preparing ocean-going vessels for an offshore operation. Modifications had to be made to some of the vessels to ensure the safe operation of the heavy specialist equipment, including boom designed for offshore use.
A deployment of 10 Australian personnel arrived to join response last night – most of them would be assisting the on-water recovery operation.
National On Scene Commander Rob Service said most of the Australian responders had worked on the Montara oil spill response in the Timor Sea in 2009. Mr Service was in the incident command centre for the Montara spill response.
“In terms of the oil recovery side of this response, there are similarities between the two operations. We have both New Zealand and Australian responders who were involved in the Montara response, so that experience is feeding in to how we manage the on-water operations.
“Our operations teams have done well to pull a lot of equipment for offshore use together very quickly. Our ongoing monitoring of the slick and its position allows us to target the operation to the priority areas.”
No further oil has been reported as seeping from the vessel overnight. Fresh oil identified yesterday afternoon had dispersed by last night.
Another oiled little blue penguin has been recovered and taken to the wildlife facility in Te Maunga. That brings the total number of oiled birds recovered to eight. All are in good condition and being washed and cared for.
A total of 85 wildlife responders were deployed to the response yesterday, with around 14 teams on the beaches looking for affected wildlife.
Mr Service said the salvage operation was making good progress, with a significant amount of equipment arriving overnight, including 280kg of equipment and a helicopter. The Awanuia has arrived from Auckland this morning. The Awanuia is a double hulled bunker barge, capable of holding 3000 tonnes of oil, designed for refuelling ships at sea.
“The removal of fuel from the ship remains the top priority. Pollutants on board the vessel including paint, grease, hydraulic oils and lubricants are being hand carried off the vessel, onto a small support vessel.
“These are maintenance goods that are carried on most vessels. This is a labour-intensive but necessary contingency task,” Mr Service said.
Source: Maritime New Zealand