Rena Update : Helicopters used to remove debris

Mangapapa River (Bay of Plenty)
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From TVNZ |!/LearnFromNature

Bags of debris have been airlifted off Motiti Island as the clean up along Bay of Plenty coastlines continues.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said a helicopter was used because parts of the island are inaccessible.

Preparations are also being made to remove milk from a container on the Rena by helicopter as salvage efforts continue on the wreck.

The ship broke into two on Astrolabe Reef in the Bay of Plenty 10 days ago after running aground in early October.

Another container washed up at Bowentown, the second in two days.

It brings the total number of identified containers on beaches or in the water up to 19. Retrieval of the latest container is likely to be carried out by boat.

MNZ says salvors have been on board the bow section, assessing the state of containers, including preparing to remove bags of milk powder from a container and fly them off by helicopter.


Bags of milk powder were among debris washed up on the Bay of Plenty coastline after the Rena split in two and the stern section largely sank.

The authority said there has been no significant change to the wreck overnight.

Salvors hope to continue a dive survey of the wreck today but diving is difficult because of sea state, it said.

Meanwhile, shoreline clean-up assessment teams plan to survey for oil from the ship at Maketu Spit and Matakana Island today.

A barge has been deployed to collect debris around Whale and White Islands and mainland coastlines.

Maritime NZsaid it is continuing to respond to reports of oil from the Rena.

Forest & Bird said at least 60 dead oiled birds have been collected since the beginning of last week, but that the death toll may be much higher.

The conservation organisation says overseas research suggests only around 10% of all birds killed in an oil spill are recovered, with most sinking without trace at sea.

Forest & Bird Central North Island Field Officer Al Fleming said there are also concerns about the impact on wildlife of debris.

One bird recovering at the response centre has been seen vomiting plastic translucent plastic beads that spilled from the Rena’s cargo. He also said birds on the beach have been spotted feeding on the beads.

Forest & Bird said a number of dead birds have been found on beaches that have not been oiled. Autopsies will confirm whether they have eaten debris or died from other causes.

Four oiled penguins will be taken to Massey tomorrow, and up to six brought back to the Bay of Plenty, the number depending on their level of “waterproofing”, MNZ said.

A shoreline wildlife monitoring team will be on Motiti Island for five days.

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