Rena Container Lift: 213 Days To Go


Update Friday:

  • 23 containers in total have now been lifted off the Rena by salvors Svitzer (20 yesterday and 3 the day before).
  • Operations will continue today as long as conditions remain favourable, but weather is forecast to deteroriate.
  • No reports of any fresh oil coming ashore this morning.


It’s estimated there were 1280 containers on board the Rena.

The containers have been lifted from the rear of the cargo ship Rena onto the crane barge Sea Tow 60.

RENA: Salvage crews aboard Sea Tow 60 today | MNZ

The container is one of three that were successfully decoupled by salvors today, ready for transfer to the ST60.

RENA: first container being lifted off the Rena this afternoon | NZDF

Authorities this week were talking of being able on a good day to get 6 containers off the ship.

By my calculation, that could mean 213 days before they could all be lifted off and it’s inevitable some will slip in the water in the process.

And that assumes during winter the seas will enable the operation to continue - or the ship, listing badly, will remain on the reef.

MNZ Salvage Manager Kenny Crawford has conceded that “obviously getting the first container off is a milestone for the operation, but there is still a very long way to go.

“The removal process will take time, as – for safety reasons – each container needs to be lifted separately. Each will also present its own challenges, depending on its position on the vessel and how badly damaged it is.

“So far 118 transponders have been fitted to precarious containers on the deck, including those containing residue of dangerous goods, and another 102 transponders are being prepared to be fitted.

He revealed that difficult weather conditions stopped crane operations yesterday, and the salvors had this morning originally planned to move the ST60 to the Rena’s more sheltered port side to prepare for removal of containers.

“However, thanks to the weather conditions much calmer today, they were able to successfully start the container removal process from the stern of the Rena. Weather conditions at present are looking pretty good for continued container removal and salvors are keen to take advantage of that window”,

We’ve also achieved another milestone in emptying port fuel tank number five, which can now be classified as empty of oil.”

National On Scene Commander Mick Courtnell said feedback on the lifting of beach access restrictions had been largely positive today.

“Feedback has been positive, but this is certainly not over for us.

“We will continue to have plans, personnel and equipment in place to respond to any further reports of oil and we ask anyone who does see oil to pass that information on via the 0800 OIL SPILL line.
“Access restrictions remain in place at Papamoa and Maketu Spit and we urge the public to exercise caution,” he said.




  1. ingolfson says:

    A year or more of of salvage operations (including the last weeks, and however long they take AFTER the containers are gone) - hope the insurance covers all the costs. I am pretty sure the damages are capped, from what I read earlier.

    And seriously, if they are going to take that long, then I would give it more than even money that by that time, the ship will have broken apart. No a criticism of their work, but hey, can’t expect no storms for 200 days!


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