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  Challenging work in Rena’s remains

    mercredi 19 juin 2013


Six containers of pollutants remained to be emptied by divers working on the "Rena". 1200 tonnes of debris from the wreck remained to be recovered, together with 200 to 300 tonnes of the front section of the "Rena" stuck on Astrolabe Reef. Helicopters have been unable to land for some time and have instead been putting down a skid to allow salvors to transfer onto the remainder of the wreck.S alvors have been making cuts in the remaining steel in the bow section and leaving the weather induced wave action to knock it into the water. The containers were in the submerged stern section that had slid down the reef. Three containers held ferro-silicon, two held the small plastic beads that had washed up on shore during an April storm, and one held copper.The concerns are three containers of ferrosilicon, two containers of plastic beads and one of copper. It was precarious work for the divers clearing these containers because the stern section of the hull was on a 55 degree angle. Divers were submerging 19 meters to reach the containers holding the plastic beads and had to cut away a fair bit of the ship to reach them. The beads were in containers in No.4 hold. Divers have been removing bags of beads by hand when they can. A floating boom on the surface prevents loose beads from escaping and they are being scooped up using whitebait nets. Removing debris from the hold is described as like trying to do surgery at around 20 metres underwater with a 280 tonne crane. The work included removing containers that held hundreds of trampolines and even a house-lot of furniture. An even bigger challenge would be the container holding the copper which was in a hold 30 meters below the surface. The divers were also taking samples to identify aluminium fluoride from the cryolite that was believed to be under about 500 tonnes of debris spread out for about a hectare-sized field. A total of 279 of the 337 unrecovered containers were in the aft section of the wreck or lay unidentified in the debris field. A further 58 had been located on the seabed, in the debris field or remained on the front section of the wreck. From the debris field the salvors have recovered about 624.6 tonnes of steel, from an estimated 1000 tonnes that can be recovered. The ship’s owner and insurers were assessing the impact of leaving the stern section on the reef and could apply for resource consent later this year.

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