Container removal operations from the Rena using the barge Smit Borneo are underway.
It began operation this afternoon, lifting six containers at once, with Maritime New Zealand’s salvage unit manager Arthur Jobard saying it took most of Thursday securing the barge alongside Rena.
The Smit Borneo is capable of lifting several containers at a time. In its first lift it raised six from the deck of Rena. Photo: MNZ.
The salvors are continuing to use the Sea Tow 60 barge – except its function is now to act as a shuttle barge to transfer offloaded containers back to port.
Salvors are also staying onboard the Smit Borneo, which eliminates the need to travel to and from shore.
It has an accommodation capacity of 152.
Salvors have been working to install patches in corridors under the deck of Rena to help seal off damaged areas and increase the vessel’s buoyancy.
“The purpose of these patches is to create a series of watertight air pockets under the main deck, which will enhance the vessel’s ability to stay afloat.”
Arthur says three large steel patches, fabricated in Tauranga by salvors and each weighing about 700kg, have been welded in position under the deck on the port side of Rena.
Prior to the start of the Smit Borneo’s container lifting, there were 1115 containers still onboard Rena.