More than 50 tonnes of container wreckage has been successfully removed from the seabed around the Rena wreck in the past week.
A barge and crane have been used to collect the container scrap and debris from inside the exclusion zone arund Astrolabe Reef, including items as large as a hatch cover.
All the hatch covers removed from the forward section of Rena. Photo: Smit and Svitzer.
On-site operations manager Neil Lloyd says with the aid of this week’s calm weather, the Braemar/Unimar teams brought in scrap by the barge-load.
Wreckage retrieval is also continuing further away from the Rena at depths of up to 70 or 80 metres.
A “working” ROV – a Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle with robot arms – is now in use and is being used to pre-rig identified container scrap.
Neil says the Rena owners are pleased to see the quantities recovered during some highly productive days in both marine and shoreline operations.
“This is the end point to a huge amount of painstaking preparation, involving divers, engineering work around the lifting and the pre-rigging of scrap.
“We are making every effort to push on with this work into the weekend before a forecast deterioration in the weather.”
A one kilometre radius exclusion zone is still around the wreck and constantly being patrolled, says Neil.
“There have been a couple of instances where craft have entered this safety zone and been challenged and ordered out.”
Debris gathered during recent days is mainly plywood and refrigerated container foam. This is debris that has washed ashore during recent bad weather.
A total of 955 containers have been recovered to date, leaving 66 in identified locations still to be recovered.