Joyce needs to act decisively on Rena crisis

It is deeply concerning to see the stricken ship Rena, leaking oil into the ocean near Tauranga Harbour. This is looking like a full-scale environmental disaster.

With bad weather approaching, experts are saying it’s possible the Liberian-flagged ship will break up spilling up to 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and scattering its containers, some containing hazardous materials into the water. This would be catastrophic and our worst marine environmental disaster.

At a time when the world’s eyes are on New Zealand you’d think the Government would be acting decisively. I’d like to acknowledge the hundreds of officials working hard, and volunteers registering for the clean-up, though I am worried that no one has assumed overall responsibility.

There is coordination between the ship owners and the Government, which is great. However, it is important that the public knows who has ultimate responsibility, and for the sake of the environment, that should be the Government. Transport Minister Steven Joyce, has to show some leadership and assume responsibility. It’s a sticky situation and we can’t have the buck passed between Maritime New Zealand, the ship owners, the salvors Svitzer and the Government.

Under the Maritime New Zealand Act the Government has the power to instruct Maritime New Zealand  to take control of the salvage. One of the lessons from the Deep Water Horizons incident in the Gulf of Mexico is that there needs to be a centralised point of command for both salvage and clean-up. I am hoping this constructive suggestion can be acted upon by Minister Joyce.

I’m off to Tauranga tomorrow to check it out but I’ve been amazed how slow and ponderous the response has seemed. Perhaps it is because all the information on the threats and actions haven’t been released publicly by the Government or perhaps it has just has been slow.

Questions have to be asked, why weren’t  oil booms deployed, during calm weather to contain the spill. Why have we had to wait days for the salvor’s naval architect to fly to New Zealand? Why hasn’t the fuel been pumped off the ship already?

The Government acted very fast to assume control of the Auckland waterfront after the Rugby World Cup transport fiasco, they just passed surveillance legislation under urgency yet when it comes to the environment they haven’t acted in haste.

I desperately hope the worst-case scenario doesn’t play out and this tragedy can be resolved soon, but if anything it highlights the risks to New Zealand of oil spills as we as a nation consider deep-sea oil drilling.

60 Comments Posted

  1. Why are the Greens not upset up the use of Corexit, it’s band in the UK.

    My earlier posts about Corexit didn’t pass moderation. I though the Greens would have been calling for the use of less toxic alternatives.

    [frog: For some reason they got caught by the spam filter. I have located and released them now.]

  2. greenfly; now that’s my ideal ship!

    Do a coastal tour of NZ in that – Camp ashore nights – by golly

    Unfortunately I am not able to log on to Mr Guyton’s site, along with many local industrious ‘trendy lefties’ (remember that Muldoonism?).

    He probably is the kind of person we need in Government (he’s doing great right where he is I hear).

    But then there are a good many people on this site I would feel comfortable with being in Parliament – lots of good sense – profound idea(l!)s.

    Back on Topic. Maybe we’ll even find out what went wrong off Tauranga using this medium.

    The News at Six pm just can’t come close to what is available online.
    There is something terribly ego-centric about a Land like NZ pretending the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

    The evidence is all over the Bay of Plenty – absolutely poisonous to ‘umans that stuff too.

  3. It’s not criticism Toad (quite the opposite).T
    hat comment reminded me of certain facts about the Maritime Industry I’ve been trying hard to forget…

  4. @Mark 5:15 PM

    Toad’s comment at 2:39 is understated somewhat

    Yep, probably was. To spell it out in full:

    Maritime Union has information that suggests Maritime NZ inspected the Reno on September 28 and found:

    …deficiencies on the Rena noted by Maritime New Zealand included:

    Fixed fire extinguishing installation
    Maintenance of the ship and equipment
    Obstruction/slipping, etc.
    Propulsion main engine
    Doors within main vertical zone
    Covers (hatchway-, portable-, tarpaulins, etc.)
    Gangway, accommodation ladder
    Safe means of access
    Stowage of lifeboats
    Emergency Fire Pump
    Railing, cat walks
    Other (radio)
    Lifeboat inventory
    Auxiliary engine

    Deficiencies in charts, FFS, as well as the rest of it. How the hell is a vessel able to go to sea in that state. Another failure of neo-lib deregulation.

  5. Good one Sam; Can probably knock you up a warrant of Seaworthiness on the Desktop here – a bath tub and a paddle? – good enough for someone (if the money’s right – few cases of it being wrong).

    Toad’s comment at 2:39 is understated somewhat – if that ship failed to meet numerous requirements – who let it back on the water?

  6. Can agree with much of that Owen – I just felt it was more like human than mechanical error in this case.

    Have innumerable anecdotal accounts of accidents involving loss of human life both dockside and asea that never made the news – shipping companies get litigious with people reporting error (certainly seen that happen).

    But where there are fortunes to be made – and an industry closer to oil than the pope is to his bible – given enough incorrect political steerage – this may well become the sort of price we will pay.

    A spokesman on the box last night asked “What d’ye want?$500 billion dollars, or a few birds and fish?”

    The sort of question that rips the issue right down the middle.

    In this case it’s a very voyeuristic disaster on our formerly pristine (ahem) blue green coast.

    But the failure is systemic – accidents will happen when safety standards are compromised (as is the case in this entire industry).
    Fearfull Dollars are at stake – swarms of lawyers about, and the truth will eventually out itself. Maybe.

    Will change result?
    Not under this Government I’m afraid.

  7. “My car has just had a warrant of fitness check.”

    Unlike the Rena, you probably didn’t get your car’s WOF done on the cheap in Monrovia. However, I’m sure the free trade lobby will be pushing for us to be able to do so in the future. Think of the money we’d save if Liberian garages could set up in NZ and do WOF’s according to local standards.

    [To be honest, I’ve no idea what car standards are like in Liberia, they could be very high, but I’m sure there’s some country that could run a shonky-warrants-on-the-cheap service.]

  8. Mark,
    Accidents happen and our first duty after dealing with the fire or sinking or crashing or explosion is to find out what caused it and then try to ensure it does not happen again. Prevention is better than clean-up.
    If after the Erebus disaster Gordon Vette and his colleagues has said “Someone didn’t do their job” and left it at that, then we would not have developed a range of technologies such the Forward Looking Ground Proximity Warning Systems, and Takeoff Acceleration Monitors which make flying safer for us all today. FWGPS works by monitoring the change in slope occuring below the aircraft and warning when the slope is rising rapidly. This gives pilots much more warning of a mountain etc.
    Sometimes we found cultural systems needed modification. There were consistent reports of Pacific Island aircraft shaving through the coconut palms. Turned out that lower class staff had the responsibility for charging for excessive baggage. As it happened high class people were the ones most likely to be carrying too much. So the counter staff faked the numbers rather than insult a superior. So the planes were overweight.
    Just before a South American plane flew into a mountain the regular GPS stated warning “Too Low, Pull Up” in a north American accent. The pilots last words were “Shut Up Gringo”. The GPS were reprogrammed to allow language and accent selection.
    An American tallyman once read all the Kilogram weights on freight as Pounds. The plane aborted takeoff with considerable injuries and damage.
    But you have to dig to learn these things.

  9. I note that this story is getting extensive coverage on CNN, FOX,the BBC and of course those Waltzing Matilda’s.
    The World’s Press is here for the RWC; acutely embarassing no?

  10. aha! Toad – you are on to it there – I’ve spent enough time in the Maritime Union Offices to know that your modern sailor is one half-step above slavery.
    Cutting Fiscal Corners is the name of the game….
    Some of the ships I’ve seen on the water barely deserve the description.
    It’s a bit of a wonder they float.

    Bye the bye; these blue-greens are largely a cybernetic trap no?
    I mean compromise is always on the table with some issues – but a Treaty of Versailles between the two?
    Wouldn’t have thought so.

    I think it a fearfull Gnact tactic as they are genuinely afraid that a Coalition of the smaller parties, perhaps acting with the Labour Party have more than an even chance of forming the next Government.
    I don’t see ACT as surviving – the Maori Vote sundered
    Who will gain the Protest Vote?
    Not a blue-green coalition.

  11. @Mark 1:35 PM

    How do you hit a well charted reef in good weather?

    Maritime Union reports it has info there were multiple deficiencies detected in a MNZ inspection of Rena on 28 September 28 – including with its charts.

  12. Just what do ‘they’ do with the gunge that gets collected off the water and beach to dispose/recycle it?

  13. Never fear Jon is there (minus his favourite Green Tie) – but is he in Mantroll?
    Can he do anything?
    Does he need a phone booth to change in?
    I’ll let him off for the Chch quakes – everyone knows that was Gerry’s fault…..
    But an Oil Slick
    Bring on de’ Man!!!

    Oh and save me a pair of penguins (this time) can you????

    Else I’ll start educing that since certain people obviously came from trees – they need a tail and a lift to go back there – hurry now – only the Good Ones get fruit trees…(and a leg up)

    How do you hit a well charted reef in good weather?
    Fail to do yr job – that will do nicely
    No help now though is it?

  14. Well, if you are on the bridge and have a computer screen available (even an 1Pad) you can call up Google earth and see the sea bed where you are sailing – whether it is a track or a course.

    The GPS in your car keeps track of where you are and so does the GPS in an aircraft. It even tells you if your take off acceleration is sufficient to get you off the ground before you run out of runway.
    Aircraft GPWS (ground proximity warning systems) are forward looking and alert you to any rapid change in slope of the ground below you.
    My general view on this situation is that preventing such accidents before they occur is the main priority. Accidents will happen but we should use the technology available to prevent them where and when we can.
    My car has just had a warrant of fitness check. Do we let massive ships enter our waters without an appropriate “warrant of fitness?”

  15. Owen

    The autopilot on most ships and boats I know of, is not set up to take note of the GPS… it steers a course, not a track. Wind and current have to be taken iThat’s not often the case.nto account when setting the course in the Autopilot, but once done the ship will steer a compass heading and speed as set, but not be aware of the position it is actually in as it does so. Someone with more recent experience could tell me that this has changed in the twenty-odd years since I last had anything to do with it… but I would be astonished if more modern equipment had actually found its way to the bridge of most of the ships out there.

    Someone has to keep track of what is happening. On the bridge of the ship.


  16. .. and they are serious about drilling for oil off this coast too ?

    If the Nats thought it would effect their chance of re-election, they’d probably be out there in private boats NOW.. scooping up the oil themselves.. talk about politics ruling over environmental priorities ! Oh DEAR

  17. It’s not just the depth sounding that has to fail there is also the GPS navigation systems which are linked to charts which tell them there is a reef in front of them.
    This is how people can sale solo round the world and not run into anything.

    IF they do not have this equipment they should not be allowed within our territorial waters.
    Just as we would not allow an jet liner to land without all the modern gear.

  18. Owen

    The shoaling would have been far too rapid for an alarm from the depth sounders (if working) to do much good to a vessel that size traveling at the reported 17 knots that they were traveling. They’d have been lucky if they fully woke up before they hit. I thought about the possibility of a steerage failure but they shouldn’t have been so close in any case.

    The problem however, is that we see no credible plan for dealing with even this minor spill… and a truly massive spill as in an undersea drilling rupture would be much much worse… yet the government insists on selling drilling rights and resource rights and putting us all at risk because THIS government thinks that selling the family silver is the best way for NZ to earn its way in the world.

    What’s not to like about them?

    They are a bunch of intelligence challenged serial rapists of our Mother Earth and our children’s children.

  19. Leaking oil that has been happended in rena ship will make water becomes dangerous, this situation should be taken quickly by government. It caused people who always take fish as their livinghood, not good to be eaten because of unsafe water. Talking about who must responsible? Both of them are ship owner and government must find a way to stop it, The best solution is to inform all owner ship to be more carefully in the future.

  20. I think we are all missing the real point anyway.

    Which is the reduction in safety standards both at sea and for offshore drilling because of the Neo-Liberal obsession with “competition” and “globalisation”.

    I.e. The cheapest in monetary terms, beats those with higher standards, to get the work..

    The best way of avoiding the consequences of an oil spill, like a fire, is not to have one in the first place.

  21. Kerry Thomas

    It doesn’t matter what the DG’s are.

    Rubbish! If the ship tips over and crushes the containers or they break open on the reaf, it is possible that whatever hazardous substances Rena is carrying could end up in the ocean. Many dangerous substances have serious chemical reactions in contact with water.

    My “hysteria” might be put to rest if they released the full inventory of what Rena is carrying KJT. I wonder why they aren’t doing that… Could it be that the authorities don’t want people to know what the dangerous goods are for some reason?

    You say we will have a long time to rescue the thousand plus possibly damaged shipping containers from the ocean… what do you define as a long time?

    And clearly no one would be permitted to drill for anything this close to a multi coned reef with so much sea life.

    We have seen a long delay before any ocean clean up equipment became available. What you are saying is that National has failed to show there is an adequate oil response plan for even relatively small spills in shallow waters. There is no hope in hell of responding to a deep sea oil spill… whether from a ship or a drilling rig, oil is still oil and will contaminate the ocean if you can’t clean it up.

    Was everyone drunk on board or on P or something? OR was someone suicidal or out to destroy the company because of a personal grudge?

    I would prefer to think that it is incompetence rather than a malicious act.

  22. Depths around Astrolobe reef vary from 13m to 60m.

    It doesn’t matter what the DG’s are. If they are packed in containers according to the rules for international carriage of DG’s, there is very little danger.

  23. New Zealand will never have the money or resources to deal with a really serious oil spill. Even the USA could not cope.

    I got into trouble years ago for saying NZ’s oil spill response was laughable. It has not improved much since. Did get some capability transferred to Marsden point though. Instead of having to wait for all of it to get through Auckland traffic from Te Atatu to where it was needed.

    A 2 to 3000 ton spill of a shipwreck though is a predictable occurrence and should have have had plans in place to requisition the capability to sort it out ASAP.

    Especially as successive NZ Governments have been complicit in allowing ever increasing numbers of substandard shipping on our coast. Making accidents more likely.

    Shipping companies and shippers race for the bottom trying to use ever cheaper ships and crews does not make future accidents less likely.

    The flip side of pandering to farmers.

    The Jackal is not helping his credibility with hysteria about DG’s.
    DG’s packed properly in containers are a small proportion of the ships cargo and unlikely to be a risk. Even if the ship sinks we will have a long time to remove them before they start leaking.

    It was not a very edifying spectacle watching our dear leaders running around like headless chooks and wasting 4 days of calm weather. As a small NZ container ship with cranes 12 hours away at the time is now 3 days away. Large international ships are too deep draft to risk close.

    The Awanuia had to go back to Marsden point first to discharge her cargo, so it is unlikely she could have got there quickly.

    Containers vary from 24 tons for a 20′ to 30 tons for a 40′. Not many choppers can take that weight.

    And. Owen. Running ships aground by accident happens far too frequently. Often because of the working hours demanded of, far too small, crews.

  24. It is puzzling, Owen. And indicative of how much credence we should give to National’s assurances that their procedures around oil spills at sea are top-quality. Looking at the response here, it bodes ill. As you point out, the accident seems inexplicable, illogical even. I can imagine the same being said about the first (potential) rig-failure ‘We can’t understand what happened. It’s an accident!’) followed by the same lame response as the Rena is getting. That’s the connection, as I see it.

  25. Owen – we may never know, as the NZ authorities were not allowed onto the vessel to check the crew for alcohol or drugs.

    I do wonder about the practice of registering ships under flags of convenience. Perhaps we should impose additional checks on such ships and require that they have a New Zealand pilot while in New Zealand waters?


  26. I see little technological connection between this event – a ship running aground on a reef – and deep sea drilling for oil.
    If we are to ban anything as a result of this marine accident it would be all shipping powered by diesel. The reporting is vague as has been noted frequently above but I gather than the oil that is leaking is mainly if not entirely the fuel oil – not crude being transported to some refinery.
    And clearly no one would be permitted to drill for anything this close to a multi coned reef with so much sea life.
    Ae we prepared to ban international shipping from our waters because of this accident?
    Can ships be powered by gas feeding gas turbines?

    What puzzles me is how it is possible to run aground with all the navigation and depth sounding equipment available today. Even my 3.6 metre twin keeled Variant would tell me if I was about to run aground.
    Was everyone drunk on board or on P or something?

    OR was someone suicidal or out to destroy the company because of a personal grudge? I just don’t understand how this is possible without gross human incompetence, malice, or even more serious destructive attitudes. Running a ship into a reef by accident is about as likely as flying an aircraft into an office building.

  27. Photonz – I fail to see where he said to sideline the experts. Your usual red-herring tactic of putting words in our mouths. I would think that Maritime NZ has some knowledge of salvage and Oil Spills and the principle charge that can be laid against the government here is that they are all too willing to sell our resources to foreign drillers without, and it is clear that they are ENTIRELY without, any clue as to how NZ could respond to a deep sea rupture. If they had a plan, this would have been a good time to trot it out.

    Basically they are perfectly willing to screw the environment for a buck. They have no plan except to treat Mother Earth as a MILF.

    THAT is the problem we have with National’s response.

    We don’t blame them for the accident mate, we blame them for their priorities and their preparedness. Trust them? No… they’re going to fnck us up. Long term damage to the country is an inevitable result of their being in power. Their owners will profit in the short run. The people of NZ will be screwed. That is their mandate.


  28. Gareth – do you really think it’s a good idea to sideline the experts, and put someone in charge who knows nothing about salvage or oil spills?

    Is there a good reason for this or do you just want a reason to try to shift the responsibility for the accident to the govt?

  29. Did you know the dispersant they are using is Corexit, which is band in the UK because this stuff KILLS about EVERYTHING in the ocean, and creates pathogenic microbial mutations.

    And how long will it be before John Keys blames Labor of this wreak.

  30. SOFRANA TOURVILLE seems to be in port but the crane ship KATHERINE is at the scene. The MAUI 1 tug is now out there as well. The ARATAKI is a tug boat and not a barge… Sorry about the mistake.

  31. Ships at Rena Grounding

    There are currently nine vessels at the scene of the Rena grounding incident. This includes one tanker – STOLT VIOLET, one barge – The ARATAKI, two crane ships – KATHERINE and SOFRANA TOURVILLE.

    I wonder why we’re not getting informed of the progress?

  32. For a potentially very serious spill like this one, I am glad that they have sought overseas advice. We have seen countless disasters in other coutries where they thought they didn’t need to seek additional advice and could handle everything themselves.

    Of course the best result is if those overseas experts agree with the local plan, in which case the peace of mind is worth the small cost. However it is when the experts suggest alternatives or identify issues that the locals have missed that the value of additional expertise becomes apparent.


  33. On 13 April, Hekia Parata said:

    Maritime New Zealand is responsible for ensuring New Zealand is prepared for, and able to respond to, marine oil spills. The Marine Pollution Response Service consists of internationally respected experts who manage and train a team of around 400 local government and Maritime New Zealand responders. New Zealand has equipment and other stores strategically located around New Zealand. In addition, the Marine Pollution Response Service assists regional councils with exercise and oil spill equipment. The plan is responsive and is regularly evaluated to ensure it meets changing risk profiles.

    Somebody should question Parata about why the internationally respected experts have to be flown in from overseas and she effectively misled the house?

  34. The owners of Rena have issued a statement:

    Costamare Inc., parent company of Daina Shipping Co., registered owner of the 3,032 TEU containership RENA, aground on the Astrolabe Reef off the north island of New Zealand, are cooperating fully with local authorities and every effort is being made to control and minimize the environmental consequences of this incident.

    The operators of the vessel are Costamare Shipping Company S.A. (a dedicated containership operator with over 35 years of experience in the shipping industry), while Ciel Shipmanagement S.A are the technical managers. Both companies are members of the Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association.

    However the Costamere Inc. website shows that the Rena is chartered to them by MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company), and not the Daina Shipping Co. which doesn’t seem to even have a website.

    According to Wikipedia, in 1956 Yuli and Sammy Ofer established the shipping company called Mediterranean routes. I’ve not found specific information that says Mediteranian Routes is MSC, but this is likely the case.

    Here is an interesting list of Subsidiaries of Costamere Inc.

    On Wednesday it was reported:

    Michael Hodgins of the Mediterranean Shipping Company, which chartered the
    21-year-old Rena, told Radio New Zealand it was carrying timber, milk
    powder, meat and fish.

    We now know that is not the case, and the vessel is carrying ferrosilicon. Such lies should raise even more suspicions about what the Rena is actually carrying. We should also be aware that they are trying to hide who the true owners of this vessel are, presumably to avoid paying for the clean up.

    Update: The Costamere website until a few minutes ago used to show the Rena was chartered from MSC. Lucky I kept a copy.

  35. Shows how utterly unprepared we are to deal with even relatively minor oil spills. Makes me wonder how they’d stop an actual oil disaster if one of Nationals proposed oil rigs failed

  36. Still no press release on National’s website… What are they doing?

    Perhaps some heavy lift choppers could remove some of the shipping containers? That would involve somebody having a full inventory of what the ship is carrying (which I think MNZ has) and identifying the containers to be removed. Hopefully the hazardous materials are stored on top. I haven’t found any information on any choppers located in New Zealand capable of lifting a laden shipping container though.

    More bad news. Radio NZ reports:

    Oil tank ruptures on board Rena spilling 100 tonnes of fuel

    A fuel tank on the container ship stuck off Tauranga has ruptured, spilling more oil into the sea and deepening the environmental crisis in the Bay of Plenty.

  37. Thinks are happening but very slowly:

    But I haven’t come across any news of any vessel capable of lifting the containers off this ship heading its way. I would have expected an urgent measure to get something suitable on site to keep their options open. Lifting some of the containers off would make the ship less likely to capsise and easier to shift off the reef and would also reduce the stresses off the hull (if the right containers are removed) and would also reduce the hazards from the materials in those containers. (Not to mention reducing the costs to the owners of those containers and their cargo to not have them delivered.)

    And the forecast is not favourable:

    Labour agrees that things are moving too slowly:


  38. Who Owns Rena?

    I first became interested in who actually owns the MV Rena, a ship that ran aground on Wednesday night causing a large oil spill in the Bay of Plenty, because the mainstream media was failing to report this information. Something felt very wrong about the lack of disclosure and National’s slow response to this disaster… and it appears my hunch was right!

  39. No one will make a decision because they know the resources to deal with it immediately do not exist. Just luck the Awanua was part full or was able to discharge enough to take the oil.

    Booms only work in sheltered calm water.

    Anyone who takes over command will end up with egg on their face.

    Every day of delay means the chances of a spill are more likely. Weather rough enough, to break the ship up, will happen in time.

    The crew will get all the blame, despite responsibility lying with Governments such as ours who encourage substandard, cheap, poorly maintained, with half trained crews, shipping, in the name of competition.

    Of course, when the inevitable accidents happen it is not the shipping company, the Governments responsible or the farmers who clamour for below cost freight rates who pay for the consequences.

    Just another externality we all pay for through taxes or increased insurance premiums.

  40. Are you sure you want the government involved in this? Other than its fun to poke a government minister.

    Before answering: You did watch the online coverage of the Pike River inquiry…?

  41. Doesn’t look likely Joyce will act decisively, Gareth:

    Going to get worse before it gets better

    Minister of Transport Steven Joyce said today the situation with the stricken ship did not look good.

    “The situation with the oil is going to get worse before it gets better, I think there’s no getting around that fact.”

    Mr Joyce said the top four teams in the world have scrambled to help with the operation.

    He said 100 staff are registered with the Incident Control Centre and there has been excellent support from international partners.

    “It’s a very complex and very difficult operation and the reality is I think you wouldn’t choose to start from the position that these good people have found themselves in.

    Mr Joyce said two oil recovery vessels have been sent from Auckland and Picton.

    This has all the hallmarks of a Government caught totally unprepared for an emergency like this, and a Minister having no clue how to respond. And, apparently, they can’t get the oil recovery vessels there till Monday, by which time the weather is expected to deteriorate.

    And if they can’t handle this, how the hell could they handle an offshore deep-sea drilling leak?

  42. Tim Selwyn has a good take on this too:

    Imagine if there was an oil rig out there – in the earthquake zone – and something happened. There is no confidence in the NZ government to handle this. John Key will be held responsible for every drop of oil that reaches the shore, that coats the seabed, that floats on the surface and that makes its way into the atmosphere. Every drop.

  43. @Jackal 6:12 PM

    On Monday! If that is the level of preparedness to deal with a crisis like this, then heaven help us. The Rena could be completely broken up by then, with all it’s fuel washing up on Bay of Plenty shores.

    Another big fail for the Nats, and for Labour before them. There needs to be policy and resources in place to deal with crises like this urgently. The Lab/Nat approach is do nothing and pray.

  44. TVNZ One news just reported that the Awanuia will be available on Monday to pump fuel off the Rena. Just when it is predicted the weather will start to turn bad, potentially meaning the Awanuia will not be able to undertake the task. The expert says it should take a day for the Awanuia to steam down from Auckland. It’s now Friday, nearly three days after the Rena grounded. WTF!

  45. And if we can’t handle this, with just 1,700 tonnes of fuel, how the hell could we handle a leak at 1,500 metres below sea level from the offshore deep-sea drilling oil extraction projects National is supporting?

  46. The Bay of Plenty Times reports:

    A Tauranga maritime expert, who spoke on condition he was not identified, has urged authorities dealing with the stricken ship to put their focus on pumping the oil out of the Rena while the weather holds.
    His appeal depends on bringing down the Ports of Auckland bunker barge Awanuia, which could comfortably take the whole 1700 tonnes.p> “The significant thing is to make sure that poxy oil does not wash up on the beaches,” he said.

    The expert said the situation with the ship looked bad and Maritime New Zealand needed to act now to get the oil off before winds got up next Monday and Tuesday.

    A spokesperson for Z Energy, which charters Awanuia from Ports of Auckland, told the Bay of Plenty Times it had not been asked to make the vessel available for getting fuel off the ship.

    Jonathon Hill said the company was open to making the vessel available and staff were already thinking but had not heard from the salvage company.

    The Tauranga expert, whose career included preparing for events like the Rena, said the situation was a major worry.

    Perhaps the Greens could ensure that the Awanuia gets underway?

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