The wreck of the Rena is no longer classified as a hazard to navigation or a hazardous ship. The Director of Maritime NZ has withdrawn two statutory notices relating to the wreck of the MV Rena, issued after the vessel grounded on the Astrolabe Reef on 5 October 2011. The notices declared the wreck a hazard to navigation (under section 100A of the Maritime Transport Act) and a hazardous ship (under s248). They required the owners of the vessel to undertake work to address the navigational hazard and discharge of harmful substances, and inform Maritime NZ of progress being made.
The Bay of Plenty Harbour Master has also amended the exclusion zone around the wreck to allow smaller vehicles into the area.
Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch said salvage and clean-up work undertaken since the grounding meant there was now no proper basis for the notices under the Act.
"Significant effort has gone into salvage and safe removal of harmful substances,” he said. “While some oil remains trapped in the wreckage of the vessel, most of the harmful substances contained within the ship have been discharged into the sea and have either been removed or have been, and will continue to be, monitored under the plan provided for under the resource consent.”
In terms of navigational safety, Mr Manch noted that more than 22,000 tonnes of debris had been removed from the seabed.
“The information and evidence available to me indicates that all reasonable efforts have been made to remove entanglement hazards and wreckage, where possible. I have concluded that the wreck and remaining debris on the sea-floor no longer constitute a hazard to navigation.”
Mr Manch said the lifting of the statutory notices represented a significant milestone in the response to the grounding.
“Maritime NZ has maintained a presence in Tauranga overseeing the work undertaken by, and on behalf of, the owners since the grounding and wishes to thank all those involved for the efforts that have been put in,” he said.
The Bay of Plenty Harbour Master yesterday amended the exclusion zone around the wreck. Small vessels are once again allowed in the Astrolabe (Otaiti) Reef area.
The exclusion zone has been amended to provide access for vessels under 500 tonnes, from 8am Tuesday 5th April 2016, in response to the MV Rena clean-up operations concluding on Monday 4th April 2016.
Whilst all previous directions relating to the closure of areas associated with the Rena salvage operation are withdrawn (with effect from 0800 NZST 05 April 2016) exclusion zones will remain in place for vessels over 500 tonnes in the following areas:
•Astrolabe Reef 2.0nm centred on position 37 32.446 S – 176 25.625 E
•Brewis Shoal 1.5nm centred on position 37 34.136 S – 176 22.828 E
•Okaparu Reef 1.5nm centred on position 37 34.914 S – 176 21.669 E
•Penguin Shoal 1.0nm centred on position 37 26.752 S – 176 20.164 E
•Volkner Rocks 2.0nm centred on position 37 28.624 S – 177 08.015 E
This is in accordance with clause 3.11 of the Bay of Plenty Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw 2010 and section 33F(1) of the Maritime Transport Act 1994.
Related news: Rena wreckage to remain on Astrolabe Reef