The cracks on Rena’s port and starboard sides appear to be worsening as a 4m swell continues to buffet the 236m container ship grounded on the Astrolabe Reef.
Maritime New Zealand salvage unit manager Andrew Berry says a bend has formed in the ship stemming from the cracks in its hull.
Rena resting on the Astrolabe Reef today. Photo: MNZ.
The bend places the ship’s bow on a leftward orientation.
A team of four salvors is aboard the Rena, but they are to leave the vessel before nightfall owing to safety concerns.
The ship has a 21 degree list.
No oil pumping could be conducted on the ship today as the conditions were too rough for the Awanuia barge to get alongside to receive the fuel.
Debunking the ship is the salvors’ priority and on Thursday morning a team will board Rena to reassess the damage to the ship and continue preparations for the resumption of pumping.
Svitzer is the appointed salvage company and its salvage master, Captain Drew Shannon, says once the Awanuia and the Rena are reattached for pumping they will not be starting from square one.
Their processes involve setting up a system and then proving it, so that they can then improve it.
Since it is the same system as was used on Monday when 90 tonnes of oil was pumped from Rena’s fuel tanks, Drew says they will be starting pumping from a more advanced stage – closer to the ‘improving’ step.
The improvement is in the speed of pumping.
There is about 1300 tonnes of heavy fuel oil still aboard Rena, with 1000 tonnes of this in fuel tanks in the ship’s stern and about 300 tonnes in a tank near where the cracks are.
Photos taken of the Rena today: MNZ.