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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Swell and heavy weather continues to haunt MV Rena

I have posted about its agrounding, the feared oil spill, pollution to environment, the salvage operations, containers spilling out and vessel breaking in to two. 

The sordid tale of the 1990 built  3351 TEU container ship MV Rena owned by Greek Shipping continues to haunt.  Built as Zim America, renamed as Andaman Sea and thence Rena from 2010, the vessel ran aground near Tauranga, New Zealand on 5th October 2011 causing an oil spill and some damage to environment.  The constant thrashing of waves and pressure caused the vessel splitting into two  by 8th Jan 2012 -  the split had caused both sections to slew away from each other and settle lower in the water.

The professional Salvors, Svitzer were pressed in to action and they started removing  containers from the vessel which was hampered by storms in early Mar 2012.  Before  the storm hit it was estimated that  881 containers were  still on board.  There were also reports that  "between 200 to 300 containers" were washed overboard as the ship separated and only about 40 to 60 would have remained afloat.  Now some latest updates put that a  total of 649 containers are now accounted for onshore. This comprises 575 containers removed from Rena by Svitzer salvors and 74 containers recovered from the sea and shoreline by Braemar Howells container recovery teams.

The vessel continues to be battered and the heavy swells now are battering the fragile wreck after 6 months of its agrounding.  Maritime New Zealand states that  swells of up to 7m had forced a hatch cover off the number three hold in the bow section of the stricken ship, letting about 10 containers fall into the sea.  Bad weather two weeks ago had already dislodged a number of containers, wooden debris and oil – it is also stated that the recent loss was not unexpected.

The condition of the ship is fragile with much of the stern under the water after MV Rena snapped in Jan 9, 2012.  The rough conditions would affect the salvage operations and there was further seepage of some small quantity of oil, causing more concern.  Fiji has been battered by storms and Australia and New Zealand are reportedly mobilizing aid for the affected people of Fiji.  The salvors were further examining the damage resulting from the recent heavy weather event – 0ne event after the other continues to haunt the ill-fated vessel. 

More than the vessel, containers and its cargo, the remnant oil in the wreck at various pockets still causes concern to everyone.  There have been fresh complaints as a Greenpeace advertisement  had alleged that  the Rena oil spill killed more than 20,000 birds. The television campagin featured a succession of oil smudges in the shape of a penguin. A dead penguin covered in oil was shown being lifted from the paper followed by the message "over 20,000 birds were killed by the Rena oil spill''.  Those connected with the Ship feel that the claim is grossly exaggerated.    Greenpeace is utlising this oil spill to fight against the New Zealand's coastal waters being opened up to deep sea oil drilling.

So from that fateful day in Oct 2011, the vessel MV Rena has never recovered and is deteriorating steadily

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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