Rena Wreck Site Reef Contamination

Testing of the area around the sunken stern of the shipwrecked Rena has confirmed fears of elevated level of contaminants around the wreck. The presence of contaminants around the site had been expected and the samples are now undergoing further testing. According to Professor Chris Battershill from the University of Waikato sediment samples have shown elevated levels of contaminants including copper and PAH’s (polyaromatic hydrocarbons) which are known contaminants that were lost to sea from the Rena and its cargo. Early indications are that the contamination is localised.

2013.05.01 - Rena Wreck Site Reef Contamination

The two nautical mile exclusion zone around the wreck remains in place and officials say there is no significant risk to seafood from the contaminants found from the Rena. Divers discovered that of the 36 remaining containers in the sunken ship’s stern carrying known contaminants, many have broken up and their contents have escaped.

Professor Chris Battershill, University of Waikato Chair of Coastal Science, said that it had been expected that contaminants would be found at the ship wreck site and they are working directly with the salvors to access the reef to collect more samples.

Resolve Salvage & Fire, appointed by the owners and insurers of the Rena are using specialist heavy-lifting equipment to remove cargo, wreck and container debris over approximately 10,000 square metres from around the wreck.

Of the 1368 containers carried on board at the time of the grounding, 1007 have been recovered. Resolve is using specialist heavy-lifting equipment to remove the large amounts of remaining cargo, wreck and container debris from an area approximately 10,000 square metres around the wreck.

Sources: TVNZ, The New Zealand Herald

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