Maritime “Understands The Anger”


A thousand people have so far offered to help with the Rena oil spill cleanup.

To the growing local anger about the efforts, Maritime NZ National On Scene Commander Nick Quinn said this morning: ”We understand the anger and disbelief we’re hearing from people.

“We have a huge task in front of us but I can assure you that we are on the front foot and mobilising where and when we can.

“Our focus is on recovering oil from wherever we find it and we will go in day by day until this is over.

“It’s hard dirty work, but with all the agencies involved and the community pulling together, we will get this oil cleaned up,” Mr Quinn said.

Mr Quinn said the response team was working to coordinate volunteer efforts.

“We are very appreciative of the volunteer support we are continuing to receive. We need to coordinate this properly to ensure we get the maximum benefit from it. Please be patient while we put systems in place to manage these teams – be assured we will be calling on you.”

Clean-up teams have so far collected 50 tonnes of solid waste and 5 tonnes of liquid waste. He said that yesterday, 17 kilometres of coastline was cleaned of oil.

He said the situation this morning is :

  • The Rena is “moving around a little” with high tides.  The salvage master and the head of the MNZ salvage unit are developing  to get the salvage crew back on board the vessel if it can be done safely. “Human safety must be the priority and no action will be taken that will put lives at risk.”
  • The wildlife team has established a seal capture team and have five seals in captivity.
  • 200 dead birds have bene recovered but this is expected to increase significantly.  There are 36 teams out in the field and at the wildlife facility – there are 47 oiled animals at the rehabilitation centre.   The public are asked to please report dead birds, as the wildlife team will come and retrieve the birds as they need to examine them as part of their process.
  • A second officer, who was in charge of the navigational watch of the vessel Rena, is facing one charge laid by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act (MTA) 1994, “for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk”.

Container washes up on Motiti island shoreline just off Tauranga | Maritime NZ

The Green Party is calling on the Government to release all information relating to their decision not to purchase an emergency response multi purpose vessel it says could have removed oil from the Rena.

The call comes in response to news the New Zealand Maritime Union advised the Government over a year ago to purchase such a vessel to assist in the event of an offshore oil spill.

“The Government was advised to purchase an emergency response vessel over a year ago and after considering it they chose not to,” said Green Party MP Gareth Hughes.

“Having an emergency response vessel on hand for the clean-up could have made all the difference in the five days of calm weather to get oil off the ship.

“It is becoming clear that Maritime New Zealand didn’t have the resources to deal fast enough with a significant oil spill and that’s something we need to look into.

“We support the call of the Environmental Defence Society for Royal Commission into the Rena disaster. However that shouldn’t stop the Government releasing information now that is critical to our understanding of why the immediate response was so slow.”





  1. Geoff Houtman says:

    Still creating a list of volunteers and not using them?

    “Clearing people away from the beach” is the new priority, according to Maritime NZ on the news tonight.

    Clearing oil not rated as highly?

    The Metro “20 Questions” Column is going to have a ball with this!


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