Kim Vinnell reports on the MV Rena disaster, 19 January 2012. ONE News / TVNZ

January 19 (ONE News) – For the first time salvage crews have removed containers from the front section of the stricken Rena.

ONE News got close to the cargo vessel for the first time today since it split in half 12 days ago.

Reporter Kim Vinnell said that as well as the pungent smell of rotting food and cow hides, tonnes of twisted steel can be seen protruding from the water.

Many containers are still precariously perched on the ship and those that can't be reached by crane are now simply being pushed off by a tug.

Maritime New Zealand said the Rena's bow position on the Astrolabe Reef off the Tauranga coast means the crane barge Smit Borneo cannot get close enough to the port side to lift off some containers.

Two containers were pulled from the vessel by a tug into the sea today then lifted by crane onto the recovery barge.

Ten containers have been lifted off the Rena since it split but more than 500 remain unaccounted for and divers are still working to figure out exactly where containers from the back section have fallen. […]

Meanwhile the pungent smell is lingering for kilometres over the area and Maritime New Zealand admits "it's not pleasant".

Salvage Unit Manager Kenny Crawford said the gases are monitored all the time for the safety of the salvors.

Divers are still assessing the two sections of the vessel but despite calm seas, dive conditions remain difficult because of the dark, sea surges and jagged steel.

Crawford said tests are being carried out on the toxicity of water in the aft section to ensure the safety of salvors. […]

The forecast for ongoing container removal remains good for the next few days but the on scene commander said it is too difficult to say how long it may take to get the Rena itself off the reef.

"I'd say we're not looking at months, I'd say longer than that," Mick Courtnell said.

Rena stench adds to salvors' challenge


  1. Bustednuckles said...

    Shades of the New Carissa on the beaches I grew up in on the Oregon Coast.

    Killed an entire oyster population, as in square miles.  


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