After running aground on the Astrolabe Reef on Oct. 5, 2011, the M/V Rena now waits to be taken from the reef one piece at a time.
The container recovery stage in the salvage of the M/V Rena has been completed and now the operation will move towards wreck removal with the owners issuing a tender for the job. Salvage operations this week mostly focused on the demobilizing equipment after salvage partners, Smit and Svitzer, completed the current stage of the salvage operation by recovering all accessible containers. This stage was completed a month ahead of schedule. Calm conditions have allowed container recovery company Braemar Howells to lift a number of containers from the seafloor. a total of 940 containers have been processed ashore and that the owners and insurers of Rena have issued a tender for the wreck removal.
A tender process has started for contractors to take up the second phase of the salvage final removal of the hull from the reef but until that tender is resolved. The ship's remains will lie on Astrolabe Reef over much of winter as a search begins for new contractors to complete the job.
The removal of the wreck must wait until the new salvors are appointed at the conclusion of the tender process, which is expected to close at the end June.
The vessel owners and insurers are working with Maritime New Zealand as part of the planning process and discussions are continuing with salvors regarding the technical aspects of wreck removal.
A spokesman for Braemar Howells/Unimar said they will continue to monitor the wreck site until the tender was awarded. An exclusion safety zone which is being patrolled 24-7, and so far there have been no incidents or releases.
The Rena ran aground October 5 on Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga loaded with 1,368 containers and approximately 1,700 tons of fuel oil.
The ship’s Master and the Second Officer have pled guilty to a number of offenses for their role in the ship’s grounding. The MV Rena's captain and his navigation officer eventually admitted altering the ship's GPS log, its passage plan and its computer to mislead the investigators. The Captain, 44-year-old Mauro Balomaga, and his navigational officer, 37-year-old Leonil Relon both from the Philippines were jailed for seven months.