- Date published:
9:50 am, October 8th, 2011 - 71 comments
Categories: disaster, Environment, water - Tags: maritime NZ, oil spill, Rena
The stranding of the Containership Rena on Wednesday morning, occurred in clear fine weather which has persisted for 3 days now. This clear weather is due to deteriorate starting today with a change in wind direction around midday.
It is expected that by the middle of the week it will be too late, high winds will prevent any attempt to unload the fuel oil from the Rena and the likelyhood is high that before the next calm period the ship will be broken on the reef.
It appears that the resources that could have taken advantage of the good weather to pump ALL the oil from this ship are near at hand have been sitting idle and unused.
Collapsible rapid response emergency oil barges made to deal with just this sort of emergency are right here in New Zealand. With even more available in Australia. These collapsable oil barges are specifically designed and made to be deployed instantly in just such an emergency.
Sail-World magazine report that Lancer Industries here in New Zealand manufacture inflatable barges designed specifically to allow oil to be offloaded from ships which have run aground to prevent significant spillage and environmental damage. The barges from Lancer are owned by many maritime authorities around the world including the US Coast Guard.
Able to hold 100 tonnes of oil at a time, they can be delivered in folded up form not much bigger than an office desk. Once filled they can then be towed ashore and after being emptied can be reused.
Lancer barges are designed to be taken alongside a vessel and have the oil pumped into them directly, before being towed ashore to a shore installation
These barges can also be used in a cleanup operation to skim oil that has already leaked, reducing the need to use dispersant.
Three days down the track these emergency barges have not been deployed.
Martime New Zealand own two of these barges.
Sail-World believes that the Martime NZ Lancer barges are located in Te Atatu only a few hours trip by road to Tauranga.
Have these barges been delivered to the scene of the disaster?
If not, why not?
Sail-World also reports that all major governments of the world have agreements in place to fly in such equipment, in the case of an oil spill or pending disaster to offload fuel oil and reduce the extent of any damage.
These additional barges could easily be flown in from Australia if required.
Has our government made this call?
If not, why not?
As well as the two Maritime NZ owned emergency barges, Lancer Industries ltd who are based in the Auckland suburb of Henderson have just made some more of these barges for the US Coastguard with significantly more capacity than the two owned by Maritime NZ.
Why have these barges not been requisitioned as an emergency measure?
These specially designed barges, built for just this sort of scenario, are all owned by private concerns and different authorities.
Why is there no single government authority which in an emergency could commandeer these resources?
Why aren’t these purpose built emergency oil barges already on the scene and being deployed to unload the oil before the weather deteriorates?
Emergency barges are good. But they are useless without tugboats.
Only today, this afternoon in fact, have two large tugs departed from Auckland for Tauranga to deal with the disaster.
Why the delay?
Why were they not dispatched immediately?
Were the commercial operations of the Ports of Auckland given priority over this unfolding disaster?
Who made this decision?
If the weather window closes and the ship is broken on the reef to discharge it’s full load of oil into the ocean. Will anyone be held accountable?
“Will anyone be held accountable?”
You know the answer. Chimps the lot of them.
So now what Parliament has broken and No One is watching the store.
I imagine the probably poorly paid and exploited Filipino crew would be a likely target for easy blame This emergency situation happened three days ago yet the government still doesn’t seem to be taking any leadership.
It will never be the Monetarist Governments who encourage substandard shipping, crew training and the race for the lowest/cheapest standards.
Steven Joyce gives his version of what’s happening on an Al Jazeera report – see video here:
He claims divers and others are working to prepare the ship for removal of the oil, but he doesn’t explain tardiness in getting tugs etc to the scene.
The usual ‘muddling through’.
TV3, doing stirling effort with the money we lent them, have this about who is in charge….
Yet, the delay when immediate reaction is required, the failure to have our own resources/equipment in storage in NZ (and yet again having to borrow from Australia), failure to use “Buy NZ Made” proven technology already at hand, all point to the infrastructure being inadequate for such disasters (Pike River all over again).
I’m sure they will say that it was Labour’s fault for not dealing with the under-resourcing (as is their mantra these days). Yet, when repeated questioned in Parliament about NZ preparedness for major oil spills (a la Deepwater Horizon) Hekia Parata said that
Hansard – April 12 2011
Probably need to empower the head of the next disaster dept with extraordinary powers. And blame Labour when it all goes tit’s up.
“The vessel which has gone aground is a large commercial ship, run by a reputable shipping company, so we would expect them to have arrangements in place to deal with an incident like this,” says Mr Knight.
And yet on the Al Jazeera video I linked above, it says earlier this year, Rena was detained by the Australian authorities for its defects including significant cracks.
The omnipotent, omniscient invisible hand is obviously on the scene and scooping up oil by the handful, innit? Just you can’t see it. And barges and stuff would just be getting in the way and keep bumping into it and stuff. Best to leave well alone.
Who Owns Rena?
I first became interested in who actually owns the MV Rena, a ship that ran aground on Wednesday night causing a large oil spill in the Bay of Plenty, because the mainstream media was failing to report this information. Something felt very wrong about the lack of disclosure and National’s slow response to this disaster… and it appears my hunch was right!
An Italian friend of mine on Facebook (he lives in NZ) said today that he believes it’s actually a Greek ship! But now I have seen your link, now it’s loaded, I see it’s much more interesting than that! (Even if the Greeks are involved somehow…)
Jackal, that is scary stuff. About as seaworthy as the Princess Ashika. And who knows what contaminants might be on board, or whether there is any dubious cargo. I doubt anyone will be taking responsibility for anything any time soon.
Yeah! Very frightening considering the government is sitting around twiddling its thumbs. For Steven Joyce to say that the Ofer Brothers Group is a reputable shipping company is a sick joke! This is something we cannot afford to get wrong.
Reputable by joyces standards jackal, probably by some margin too given his performance to date.
I would not read too much into the deficiencies. If they were really serious the Aussies would not have allowed the ship to sail. Australia is much more careful about these things.
Rena is most likely no different from most FOC ships.
I could audit the best run and maintained ship in the world and still find some overlooked deficiencies.
A ship is a large and complicated piece of machinery with, these days, very small crews to run them. It is hard to keep them maintained 100% all the time.
Even reputable shipping companies are engaged in a cost cutting race to the bottom to remain competitive.
The ship is Greek owned.
Great that NZ gets to have its own Greek bailout
Ah no! The ship is owned by the Ofer Brothers Group which is Israeli. It is managed by Ciel Ship management located in Athens, Greece.
More bad news. Radio NZ reports:
Where you’ll find more slightly altered billboards for all parties 🙂
Not only does this ship seem to have a dubious parentage (anybody run a geiger counter over it?) but what Steven Joyce is saying is highly inconsistent.
The first thing Maritime NZ should have done is unload the cargo, bugger waiting on the owners, and then send the owners the bill for the job. Impound the ship, the cargo and any other assets in New Zealand and if they don’t pay pronto then sell the ship, any respectable cargo and the assets to get the money back. Then charge a great big admin fee for the privilege.
Can’t do this under existing law? Well that shouldn’t be any problem for old Steven.
Funny how reluctant Joyce is to do “business” even when it would fix a problem.
You talk twaddle. One cannot take containers of ship as quickly as you think they can.Ignorance in your case is not bliss.
Each 20 foot container can weigh as much as 20 tonnes, there is no magical crane at Astrolabe reef and the nearest floating crane is the ancient steam driven museum piece at Auckland.
You would need heavy lift helicopters, not sure if the RAAF Chinooks are still flying, they took containers off the Anro asia when she beached at the entrance to Moreton Bay.
The only other helicopters that can do the job are russion ones.
As for putting otehr ships alongside, that can be tricky as the containers that need to coem off are situated directly above the reef, so you cannot just put another ship alongside, she’d get stuck as well.
There is a lot of hysterical claptrap being posted here, by people who know absolutely nothing about ships. This hysteria is being fed by Gareth Hughes and that know-all Ruth Dyson.
Hey Sailor Sam, you’re making excuses for the first 24 hour period of delays, after the vessel first hit trouble.
Oil and containers should have started been taken off the ship in the first 8 hours. Instead we get this fucking around trying to ring around for consultants because we have over time disabled the internal resources and knowledge base of our own nation.
Maritime NZ was still talking about trying to use overseas expertise to try and disperse the tiny amount of oil which had already been released when it was clear that the biggest problem was the ship breaking apart within a few days. The spokeswoman I heard on radio had no sense of urgency about her comments, was in a completely BAU frame of mind, basically the face of a managerial bureaucracy used to having months to make difficult judgment calls.
This country has lost the ability to deal with everything going from crowded trains going to a rugby game, to dealing with a standard maritime incident, without the whole thing going to pieces.
FIFY (including the spelling mistake :P)
Haha you’ll get nothing but agreeance from me on all that.
Agreeance? Are you ridiculing Kerre Woodham? 😀
“There is a lot of hysterical claptrap being posted here, by people who know absolutely nothing about ships.”
Whereas the oil was spilt by people who know lots about ships.
I suppose you are one of the geniuses who think looking at the MV Rena will get it off the reef? The slow response so far is a scandal that starkly illustrates just how pathetic this countries ability to respond to such accidents as this one actually is. The minute I saw that ship on the reef I remarked that they would be lucky to get it off – it hit the reef at 17 knots FFS! There is a good chance this vessel will break it’s back in the first decent swell that comes along. Let’s just hope they will finally get around to at least pumping the oil off before any bad weather hits.
This accident will undoutably be due to the routinely appallingly sloppy (to put it politely) seamanship displayed by the shipping trade these days. Poor training, over-reliance on electronic navigation aids, failure to maintain a look out when navigating in confined waters – these things are not a shocking exception, they are the rule.
An aside – it’s Astrolabe! ? ! On the radio since Wednesday, I have been hearing it called “Astrolab” … Odd!
However the Costamere Inc. website shows that the Rena is chartered to them by MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company), and not the Daina Shipping Co. which doesn’t seem to even have a website.
According to Wikipedia, in 1956 Yuli and Sammy Ofer established the shipping company called Mediterranean routes. I’ve not found specific information that says Mediteranian Routes is MSC, but this is likely the case.
Here is an interesting list of Subsidiaries of Costamere Inc.
On Wednesday it was reported:
We now know that is not the case, and the vessel is carrying ferrosilicon. Such lies should raise even more suspicions about what the Rena is actually carrying. We should also be aware that they are trying to hide who the true owners of this vessel are, presumably to avoid paying for the clean up.
Update: The Costamere website until a few minutes ago used to show the Rena was chartered from MSC. Lucky I kept a copy.
The Costamere Inc. shipping list showing that the Rena is chartered to them by MSC can be found here:
At 11:00 AM today, the Maritime New Zealand website updated us about the oil spill response. They also said that another update will be made at 2.30 PM today. It’s now 6:45 PM and still no update?
awful, just awful. Reminds me of both the Japanese Govt and TEPCO mashing the comms plan for Fukushima. PR 101: Don’t make public promises you can’t keep for even a few hours.
That ones at no charge.
Stuff.co.nz 18:53 08/10/2011 (Two hours ago)
Will this belated effort be in time?
Let us pray that it is.
What is the weather like?
the weather is about to turn to custard….. I have a horrid feeling we are going to end up with containers dumped overboard this week….. now if they only contain wine, fish etc thats not quite so bad, but how big a load of DG’s is that ship actually carrying?
Ships at Rena Grounding
There are currently nine vessels at the scene of the Rena grounding incident. This includes one tanker – STOLT VIOLET, one barge – The ARATAKI, two crane ships – KATHERINE and SOFRANA TOURVILLE.
I wonder why we’re not getting informed of the progress?
Crane ships were sitting in Port at around 6pm, saw at least one when I went out earlier
SOFRANA TOURVILLE seems to be in port but the crane ship KATHERINE is at the scene. The MAUI 1 tug is now out there as well. The ARATAKI is a tug boat and not a barge… Sorry about the mistake.
This is great news.
All our best wishes to the rescue crews and the crew of the Rena struggling to contain the spill.
May they all complete their mission in safety.
It is good to hear. Now we need to start asking the question: Why did it take so long?
I wouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet as I doubt anything has happened during the dark. One map is telling me the only vessels now currently out with the grounded Rena is the tug WAKA KUME and HMNZS TAUPO. The KATHERINE is docked. Another crane cargo ship HANSA MEERSBURG also came into the Tauranga port today. I’m unsure if these vessels will be able to remove shipping containers from Rena.
I can’t see how they would get the crane ships close enough to the Rena to offload containers, without grounding them too, or am I missing something?
It’d be dangerous. Only do-able I imgaine if the craneships sat high in the water and didn’t take too much onboard. Anyone with their tickets feel free to chip in…
It’s be damn dangerous due to the ocean swell coming in. It may not be a large swell but it’s still going to be thousands of tons of water moving fairly rapidly pushing on the ships. If a storm comes in it’s going to get worse.
Yeah! I don’t think they will be able to get close enough with the current crane ships in Tauranga. Perhaps they intend to use the crane ships to lift containers out of the water if they float. Some more tugs might be appropriate considering there are over a thousand containers on board. Still no sign of the inventory either.
It looks like the AWANUIA arrived at 5:36 AM this morning and is currently 460 metres away from the Rena. Its draft is 6.3 m.
You can check out what’s going on here: http://aprs.fi/info/i/636014911
PS I think that cargo (70) means it is carrying Hazard A (Major)
well, you need to have the correct command structure in place before any rash decisions can be made….mince pies (check), bottled water (check),….hi viz jackets (check)….., now, somehting about an oil spill?? oh hang on I’ve got mince and cheese in my keyboooorrrd
More like: “Safety gear – check. Comms – check. Authority to make decisions – check. Higher-up demanding I run every detail past them – check.”
Any similarities between our oil spill disaster and coal mine disaster? In both cases we had to import stuff from Australia as we didn’t have it ourselves so we lost time. Then add the discussions that went on for yonks and the window of opportunity was lost to act asap.
If we want to be a player with these think big projects then we have to get all the equipment including monitoring and rescue stuff, not just phone around neighbouring countries to come to our assistance.
Yeah I agree. As I said above, we’ve lost a whole lot of our own internal capabilities as a country. To the stage where we are struggling to deal with one in ten or one in twenty year events, and the backdrop is that those events are becoming more frequent due to corners being cut and safety margins eroded.
I can’t believe this comment from our PM
Both have the potential to destroy our oceans and sealife. Legislation won’t protect marine life from oil….
Is Rena Carrying Yellow Cake?
The transport of uranium ore concentrate (yellow cake) through New Zealand ports has been taking place for well over thirty years. Shipments have been stopping at Auckland, Tauranga, Napier and Nelson…
Anyone seen any details of how much corexit has been used so far?
Didn’t like what I read yesterday about side effects of corexit in the environment thats for sure.
Key demands answers on Rena oil spill
Stuff.co.nz 04:43pm 09/10/2011 (One hour ago)
My question to the Prime Minister would be; if Petrobras drills for oil in deep sea and we have another oil-spill – what will our PM do then? Fly over the scene and confirm it is a “very, very complex situation”?
It’s taken days from any response to address Rena’s stranding. It demonstrates all too clearly that NZ is in no position to clean up a massive oil spill.
We have been warned.
The NATs reply has been an oh-so clever “well that would be different, because we would legislate for that clean up capability when we approve oil drilling”
Fundamental no-idea when it comes to capability building and operational issues, the NATs.
The real problem with clean-up capability is first, that the event has happened requiring a clean-up. And the clean-up is just to make some improvement on an irreversible deterioration of the marine environment and as we have found out from listening to the Gulf problems, the clean-up may cause different problems. I heard that in the Gulf the dispersant has caused the oil to split from a mass and go into solution – a vast murky cesspool under the surface that may take a long time to break down and who knows what the fish think about it as they try to swim through it and feed.
Second, any clean up capability held here has to be kept in tip-top, ready condition at a cost, or it will be provided on a shared basis with Australia so may not be available any faster than at present if being utilised over there. And there is always the possibility of some misunderstandings of parts and servicing required by people here not familiar with the equipment held offshore. Companies will always cut costs where the equipment is for an unlikely contingency. In Pike River, no-one had to keep telephones, air lines etc all in ready condition.
Interestingly, the more that costs and corners are cut, the more likely a worst case scenario becomes.
So called one in one ten thousand year events start cropping up more and more frequently.
We’re building situations which embody very little resilience and which are very brittle in the face of even slight mishaps.
On the day it happened it was page 7 news while simon power got page one. Who wants to bet that tomorrow it will be just another photo op for jerkey in a helicopter?
No news MSM commentary I’ve seen has yet mentioned the ship’s hazardous history, nor any suspicions about the cargo. Just the PM’s not so smiley fly over.
The Environmental Defence Society questions Maritime New Zealand’s disaster response
Its been three days but in those three days alot has actually happened. It will never seem like it but jsut like when a ship is unloaded in a port, there is a strick systematic order that the containers are removed to avoid capsizing. All of the programs designed to work out the safety in ports for this are designed for the ship to be level to begin with, not heeling over such as this ship is.
Another point is the OSH factors. The sheer safety forms that would need to be filled out and checked to please the wankers in office would take 2 days easily. There are people who dedicated their life to working out senarios just like this all over the world and they are doign their best to get the job done as qucikly and safely as possible. If someone died due to a container crushing them or being trapped in the ship then there would be a massive outroar at how unsafe the working conditions are.
The blame falls on many people however it is ultimately the captains fault as it is his ship that he is in control of. He makes all the calls and, although other people may be in charge of certain aspects of the ship eg navigation, engines, balast, etc, the fact still remains that he captain is fully in charge. There may however have been a pilot onboard to assit in the exit of the harbor, in which case they should have warned the captain about the reef.
A long list of excuses for doing nothing and leading nothing until the weather turns bad.
Wrong. Key and Joyce have relied on private corporations to fuck around while it is our beaches and our environment at risk from a disaster.
Joyce and Key’s slow moving incompetence is nothing to do with the Captain.
Reading the evidence supplied by contributers to this thread. We now know the reasons for the three day delay in moving to take the oil from the wreck;
#1 The government said it is very complicated, leave it to the experts.
#2 The experts (Maritime New Zealand) said leave it to the ship owners.
#3 The ship owners said that they will do what they can.
#4 What we didn’t see was any leadership or sense, of urgency, from anyone, except possibly by the ship owners who obviously were NOT in any position to do much more than wait for the authorities to act.
Note that on the second day of the crisis, Maritime New Zealand after confirming an oil slick stretching 2 kilometres – wait for it – issue legal notices to the ship’s owners.
One of the writs is a notice to “take control” off the ship owners if MNZ “deems” it necessary!!!!!
Up to this point there has been no recovery actions taken, (by anyone)
I know its shit. They also then started busying themselves trying to clean up a few tonnes of leaked oil and saving a few birds.
Rearranging deck chairs, in other words.
Here is some real maritime bravery.
A man who knew how to lead.
To bad we don’t have anyone like that in our government.
I have a new hero.
A real Churchill of the sea.
I can’t imagine Captain Rostrun saying, “leave it to the experts”, (Joyce). Or, leave it to the ship owners, (Maritime New Zealand) and then waste time contacting his ship’s company’s lawyers for writs before he took action.
Had experts with the authority to act been on hand the dire nature of the emergency would have been recognised from day one. Instead, untrained and incompetent fools under the direction of a laissez-faire government inclined to treat everything as an opportunity to do nothing sat on their hands, to stupid to realise what they were looking at. We could have had RAAF Chinook helicopters here within 24 hours to unload containers. Almost a thousand containers could easily have been taken off by now by four choppers. Maritime NZ turned down an offer that would have pumped most of the fuel off during the fine weather window – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10758416
“…It emerged yesterday that on the day the Rena struck the reef, Maritime NZ declined an offer of two inflatable barges which could pump up to 100 tonnes of oil at a time.
The offer was made by Ronald Winstone, of Lancer Industries, who said the two barges would have easily emptied the ship of toxic oil in the four days of clear weather after the Rena ran aground.
“It would have taken them 17 trips to pump all the fuel off the ship and three or four days wouldn’t have been unrealistic for that to have happened.
“It doesn’t make sense why they didn’t start pumping the oil earlier when they had the equipment to do it.”
A Maritime NZ spokesman said Mr Winstone’s offer was logged with its operations division, and “if they needed it they would have followed it up”…”
What we are seeing is a disgraceful display of government incompetence being played out as our worst maritime disaster. Key’s cheerful do nothing and muddling through has come home to roost bigtime.