On 5th October 2011 the 3351 the containership RENA grounded on the Astrolabe Reef in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. TMC surveyors attended the RENA salvage and wreck reduction operations in Tauranga as the technical and on site representatives for the Owner and their P&I Club since the 2011 grounding. During that time the operation has transitioned through the operational phases of emergency response, wreck reduction including debris removal and target cargo recovery through that of legal argument. The operation phase was completed on 5th April 2016, exactly four and half years after the grounding and resulted in the removed all the debris from wreck and cargo. This has facilitated the regeneration and recovery of the reef’s flora and fauna. Apart from supervising the operational aspects, TMC played an important role in the owner’s RENA Project Team.
The team’s primary task was the preparation of the Resource Consent Application to the New Zealand Environment Court to leave the remains of the wreck in situ. The Project team also liaised with the government, community and Maori tribal groups. This enabled a broader understanding of the complexity and difficulty of the offshore operations whilst in return; the team garnered an appreciation of the wreck’s consequences on cultural values. TMC’s role also involved the development and implementation of the scientific environmental sampling program, Wreck Access Plan and the Volunteer Coast Guard’s “Reef Watch”. These programs facilitated the smooth and safe transition of the Astrolabe reef and RENA wreck from an industrial work site to one of community amenity. In March 2017, TMC Directors Colin Barker (Naval Architecture and Master Mariner) and Captain Roger King (Master Mariner) provided expert evidence in the Environment Court hearing before Judges Smith and Fox. The Environment Court hearing was brought about by the appeal of a small number of parties dissatisfied with the 2016 decision handed down by the Regional Council Hearing granting consent to leave the remains of the wreck in situ. The latest judgement is due to be handed down by July 2017.
On 5th October 2011 the 3351 the containership RENA grounded on the Astrolabe Reef in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Exactly four years to the day later, TMC’s Technical Director Colin Barker gave expert evidence to the panel of four Commissioners presiding over a hearing to consider the application for a resource consent seeking to leave the remains of the wreck on the reef. Earlier in the hearing, TMC’s Australian office Director Roger King had provided the panel with a presentation describing the current condition of the wreck. On the penultimate day of the five week hearing Captain King gave further evidence regarding the state of the reef and detailing the work undertaken by the Owners, Daina Shipping, and their insurer, The Swedish Club, to reduce the wreck and remove debris. During four years of work, by four different contractors, nearly 4000 tonnes of ship structure and 3600 tonnes of container and cargo debris have been removed from the reef and surrounding seabed. TMC surveyors have been attending the RENA salvage and wreck reduction operations in Tauranga as the technical representatives for the Owner and their P&I Club since the 2011 grounding. A decision on the resource consent application, a matter that has not been without controversy in New Zealand, is expected on 18th December 2015.
Photo by Darryl Torckler, a professional underwater photographer, taken for The Swedish Club.
There are more stunning photographs on his website :
TMC are continuing to attend the RENA wreck reduction operation in New Zealand on behalf of The Swedish Club and the vessel’s owners with the operation moving in to a new debris removal phase in August of 2014 and ongoing through to the year end. The photograph shows the two barge mounted crawler cranes, each positioned by jib mounted GPS receivers and fitted with grabs or a magnet. The debris location and recovery is aided by lights and cameras fitted to the grabs or magnet which allows the crane drivers to precisely position the cranes for each lift. A significant milestone was passed on October 5th, the third anniversary of the grounding in 2011.
TMC has been working on the salvage and subsequent wreck reduction operations from day one. A hearing regarding the final fate of the remaining sections of the wreck is expected to heard before the Environment Court in Tauranga, New Zealand in the first quarter of 2015.