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Nats drag feet on Rena response

Written By: - Date published: 12:50 pm, October 12th, 2011 - 184 comments
Categories: disaster - Tags: ,

A timeline of the Rena disaster shows the utter lack of urgency with which the government approached the issue when the weather was good. They left it to Maritime NZ. Who left it to the shipping company. Now, the oil’s coming ashore. The promised soldiers didn’t show up yesterday. All the Nats can do is criticise locals for acting on their own.

Of course, you want trained people removing the oil. Of course, it’s not a permanent fix to remove oil now when it will just to replaced at the next high tide. But people will feel the need to act. And surely getting the oil off as quickly as possible is good, even if it has to be done again later.

So, here’s what they should have done. Used yesterday as a mass training exercise. Told the locals ‘we want your help, get down to the beach and we’ll train you up’. Then the first wave of oil gets picked up and the people have learned the right technique for the future when the oil really starts coming ashore. People feel they have contributed. And they know the government has a plan which they can be part of.

Instead, you had nothing. No soldiers cleaning up. No indication from the government when the clean-up would begin. Of course the locals act for themselves. I’d do it to if I saw the government fucking around with no sign of a plan.

All we’ve heard from the government is what can’t be done. Just excuses for their inaction. No plan. No sign that they are committed to doing everything they can. That may be just a matter of spin or PR, really but spin matters because it affects how the locals will behave.

Having an irredeemable fuckwit like Joyce in charge, whose sole aim seems to be to snipe at anyone who asks for better results, is a big mistake. Nick Smith is the person for the job. At least he gets how to communicate with the public and seems to actually care about the environment rather than regard all this as an annoying distraction from the job of building highways to nowhere.

The timeline shows clearly that the government was very slow off the mark on this:

Wednesday, October 5
2.20am: Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, was heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island. Maritime NZ said the cargo ship, which was carrying 1900 tonnes of fuel, was on a 10-degree list and some fuel had leaked from its hydraulic pumps.

Thursday, October 6
-An early morning flight by MNZ confirmed an oil slick stretching 2 kilometres.
-Four dead birds were found, covered in oil. An oiled wildlife response team was mobilised.
-The Director of Maritime New Zealand issued the owners with two notices. One, that a reputable salvor be appointed. Two, that MNZ can take control if it deems it necessary and the vessel owner must comply with the National On Scene Commander’s directions.

Friday, October 7
-Four little blue penguins and two shags affected by oil were rescued from Motiti Island. Six teams of responders are deployed and joined by 10 more teams on Saturday.

Saturday, October 8
-Fresh oil is spotted leaking from the cargo ship, which is on an 11-degree list, MNZ confirms.
-Specialists from around New Zealand and Australia join the more than 100-member strong oil spill response team led by MNZ. Three hundred defence force personnel are on standby.
-Oil is being moved within the vessel to get it away from the damaged parts of the hull.

Sunday, October 9
-Oil recovery teams head out on the water to collect oil. The oiled wildlife response is continuing
-About 10 tonnes of oil is pumped from the Rena to the bunker barge Awanuia.

Monday, October 10

-3500 tonnes of oily water has been recovered and offloaded at the Port of Tauranga.
-Clumps of oil are found washed up on the beach.
-Awanuia is currently alongside Rena and preparations are underway to transfer oil from Rena to the Awanuia, weather permitting.

On Tuesday, the ship shifted violently, the crew were evacuated, and about 300 tonnes of oil leaked.

It took over 24 hours for MNZ to say ‘hey, we see you’ve run your ship into a whooping great reef. Sort it out please’. Despite there being a known oil slick since Thursday the government still hasn’t taken control of the operation and oil only started being pumped off on Sunday, by which time it was too late to get it off before the weather closed.

The government only began taking this seriously on Sunday. Key had his flyover and is now trying to distance his brand from this mess – he spent yesterday putting up ‘brighter future’ hoardings down the road in Hamilton.

It’s not like the government didn’t have the capacity to respond. Instead of leading the clean-up, they have tried to deflect the issue on to who is to blame for the grounding. Doesn’t seem to be working as a political play. Doesn’t get a single glob of oil off the beach either.

Now, it looks like the Rena’s going to lose most of its oil. It’s going to be a mammoth disaster. And the Nats, rather than having acted quickly to get as much oil off the ship as they could and mobilised the locals for action, have sat on their hands and pissed off the locals.

Heck of a job, Joyc-ie.

184 comments on “Nats drag feet on Rena response ”

  1. Cin77 1

    I don’t give a fuck who did it, its got to be cleaned up.

    NZ 100% pure. No wait, more like 100% fuck ups. Jesus, if something similar to what happed in the Gulf happened here, our coastline wouldn’t stand a chance. Then it would be more like NZ 100% oil rich… see its all over our beaches!

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Despite there being a known oil slick since Thursday the government still hasn’t taken control of the operation…

    And they shouldn’t have had to. MNZ should have taken control immediately though. At ~02:25, Wednesday, October 5 MNZ should have had an inspection team with armed escort on their way out there, the crew should have been immediately tested for drugs and the logs and electronic records confiscated. By dawn plans should have been in motion for pumping the fuel-oil off.

    This is really the failure of government because the proper regulations and oversight just wasn’t in place to ensure that plans, training and equipment were in place.

    Instead of leading the clean-up, they have tried to deflect the issue on to who is to blame for the grounding.

    Typical Tory response – find someone, anyone, to blame and make sure that it appears that it’s not them. Of course, this is one of the results of cutting government which National excel at.

    …he spent yesterday putting up ‘brighter future’ hoardings down the road in Hamilton.

    Well, it’ll certainly be ‘brighter’ if anyone sparks up a ciggy around Tauranga – which may explain why Key’s in Hamilton.

    • insider 2.1

      “MNZ should have had an inspection team with armed escort on their way out there”

      you want John Wayne and the marines too?

      Key was in Tauranga days ago, but don’t let that get in the way of a good story. the last thing the team needs is a polly hanging around, getting in the way, demanding attention and distracting resources. IS that really necessary

      • The Voice of Reason 2.1.1

        I bet you said the same thing when Key and King Gerry were swanning around the red zone earlier this year. Didn’t you?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        you want John Wayne and the marines too?

        Nope, just competent people doing their job.

        I do note, though, that you didn’t address anything I said.

        • insider

          Well most of it was irrelevant blather. The reality is there is a very long and complex maritime Transport Act whcih gives a whole lot of powers, there is a highly defined tiered spill response process, which has been in place for years, it is in line with overseas response models and is regularly exercised, and there is a professional organisation responsible for its management and implementation. What exactly do you think is missing here?

          Your main complaint seems to be that they haven’t behaved in the way you want, when you wanted, and because it hasn’t played out like in your dreams that means the people in charge are incompetent, which has all the overtones of a spoilt child stamping its feet. And then you want to send armed men onto a cargo ship to sort it out…I mean, WTF are you on?

          • Draco T Bastard

            The reality is there is a very long and complex maritime Transport Act…

            That doesn’t mean that it should take a long time to act.

            it is in line with overseas response models

            And how long would it have taken say, the US, to respond? 4 days? 2 days? 1 day?

            What exactly do you think is missing here?

            An adequate and timely response.

            And then you want to send armed men onto a cargo ship to sort it out…I mean, WTF are you on?

            It’s a possible conflict situation so I said an “armed escort” just to ensure the safety of the inspection team.

            • insider

              Reading this rubbish makes me wonder if you have paid any attention to what has been going on at all. Here is a little time line for you

              5 October
              2.20am ship grounds
              8am observation flight in air
              by 9am Response team activated and people heading to Tauranga and MNZ inspector on board ship
              10.45 MNZ inspector reports holes in vessel. Fuel pumped to safer tanks on ship. MPRS team activated in Auckland and equipment mobilised in Tauranga as precaution
              3.30pm MPRS incident control centre being established in Tauranga. National experts travelling to assist

              6 October
              An aerial observation flight in the morning confirmed oil leakage
              MNZ Maritime Safety Inspector on board the ship confirmed that oil was leaking from the vessel.
              The oil spill response team conducted an on-water assessment of the oil slick,
              The team conducted dispersant field tests to assess the potential effectiveness of a dispersant
              Supplies from the national oil spill response equipment stockpile arrived in Tauranga
              wildlife response launched
              Establishment of a bird cleaning and rehabilitation centre in Tauranga got underway, along with a forward base on Motiti Island.
              salvor appointed and the Director has issued the owner of the cargo vessel with two notices under section 248 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994.

              7 Oct
              aerial observation flight
              dispersant assessments show it not as effective as anticipated. Dispersant use resumed
              MNZ prepared for an on-water operation to collect oil spilled from damaged pipes – no sign that a large amount of oil was being released from the main tanks.
              Vessels and equipment being assembled to mount an on-water response to collect oil on the water
              A specialist oiled wildlife response centre was established by the NOWRT and teams of wildlife rescue staff were sent to Motiti Island.
              MNZ also prepared to launch a shoreline clean-up in the event that oil reached land.

              8 Oct
              observation flight confirmed oil appears to have stopped flowing from the Rena
              Dispersant application put on standby until any further thick patches of oil were identified.
              specialists from around New Zealand and Australia continued to join the response team which grew close to 200.
              The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) also joined the incident command centre. Four NZDF vessels were deployed with the Rotoiti, Taupo and the Manawanui arriving during the day and the Endeavour expected to arrive on Monday. An additional 500 NZDF personnel were put on standby.
              Specialist salvage equipment was deployed from around the country and Australia to support the salvage operation being undertaken by Svitzer.
              The Ports of Auckland tug the Waka Kume arrived in the morning to assist in the salvage, with the Awanuia fuel tanker arriving later.
              A draft salvage plan was prepared by Svitzer. MNZ and technical experts began reviewing the plan. Additional resources including specialist vessels, a helicopter and additional staff were also tasked by Svitzer.
              A total of 85 personnel in 14 teams were out on beaches looking for affected animals.
              The response team has received technical advice and support from the UK, Australia and Singapore. National and international offers of assistance and equipment have also been received as reciprocation to memorandums of understanding as well as New Zealand’s support in Australian spills and the Gulf of Mexico spill

              etc etc etc

              This info is all publicly available but you guys seem to enjoy wallowing in deliberate ignorance. By way of comparison, it took Australian authorities nearly 24 hours to get an inspector on board the coal ship stranded on the Great Barrier Reef last year.

              • Draco T Bastard

                10.45 MNZ inspector reports holes in vessel. Fuel pumped to safer tanks on ship.

                So the fuel could be pumped between tanks but not onto the barges that we could/should have had out there by then?

                You do understand that my entire complaint is that we didn’t have the gear and expertise in place for a timely response don’t you?

                Yes, they did all that but they were still four days too late.

                • insider

                  I understand your complaint but I;m trying to show you it is based on unrealistic expectations driven by ignorance.

                  Kerry will know better, but the ability to pump between tanks on a ship might not be the same as pumping overboard – your car has a fuel pump, but that may not be capable of siphoning your fuel tank. reading MNZ’s documents, they have had to physically put people inside the tanks with hoses down into the fuel. That was using a specialist bunker vessel with specialist high powered screw pumps. I’m sure if there were an easier method from on board the Rena they would have done it (incidentally, I’m amazed there aren’t tank valves that allow direct coupling drainage, but what do I know?) and it puts the lie to the whole ‘it could have been done in a couple of days with rubber barges’.

                  We only have one bunkering vessel in NZ. it can’t be everywhere and it is a commercial vessel that can’t appear at the drop of a hat. By comparison, when the Shen Neng ran aground off Queensland last year it took six days for a bunker vessel to get alongside and start work. That’s in a country with more resources and more ships.

                  • NickS

                    (incidentally, I’m amazed there aren’t tank valves that allow direct coupling drainage, but what do I know?)

                    Eh, any holes on the side or bellow the water line are generally things that are avoided unless absolutely needed as they present extra costs and increase drag, and without sufficient economic or legal reasons, a drainage pipe going from the very bottom of the fuel tank to the top deck isn’t likely to be included in the design. Especially when you can pay cheap prices to break the ship up in nations without strong environmental legislation…

                    And yeah, without doing some major and unsafe work given the weather and condition of the vessel involving re-plumbing on the engine fuel intake pipework, it’s definitely going to take specialist kit.

                    Though one thing the government and MNZ have utterly failed at is using booms to retard the spread of the oil, as these should have been fucking deployed as soon as oil started leaking out.

                    • insider

                      I was more thinking internal outlet valves at the base of the tanks.

                      Mnz specifically addressed this issue and said they would have been of no use, and they are correct. Skirt Booms are best used in sheltered water. They are only ‘semi buoyant’ in that they have a low profile on the water. Relatively small waves take most of the oil over them. they are best used where you can create collection points for skimmers or to screen a channel or bay.

                    • NickS

                      I was more thinking “defence in depth”, as using absorbent booms would not just contain, but also absorb some of the oil, and even if they didn’t work fully, it would still allow for a potential reduction in toxic dispersants…

                      I was more thinking internal outlet valves at the base of the tanks.

                      Accessing them and hooking up large diameter hoses might be a problem if the tanks and surrounds aren’t design for it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Isnt it interesting how insider is suddenly an expert at all this stuff? Told you he was getting fed.

                      And not just by reading the Maritime NZ website either.

                    • NickS


                      Or he’s just making smart inferences based off some knowledge + googling like I’m doing.

                    • insider

                      Or I might have actually done this stuff for real…Not everyone in life is a political stooge. It must be very sad going through life paranoically viewing everyone who has a different opinion that way

                    • Insider, your ability to respond in minutes with large amounts of ‘expert’ detail is interesting.

                      Research takes time. Unless you have some little helpers, you must be remarkably focused on all of this ‘publicly available’ knowledge to turnaround the responses in the way you do. Admirable, perhaps, but certainly a curiosity.

                      Given that context, it is not paranoia to wonder if you are having some help – as CV suggests – as opposed to being a rather obsessive amateur. It’s actually quite a reasonable educated guess (i.e., deduction).

                      Of course, I have no idea of your actual motives or means. But, on such a blog as this, many aspects of the comments are of interest – for one reason or another.

                • Lanthanide

                  Actually nick smith was on the radio earlier saying that the pumps and pipes in the ship itself were damaged when it ran aground. So even if they had had the barge alongside the ship at 8 am on Wednesday, they still wouldn’t have been able to pump any of the fuel over to it until the pipes were repaired.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    So were pump repair crews from Tauranga or from MNZ on to it by 8am Wed morning?

                    No, didn’t think so.

          • The Voice of Reason

            We send armed men onto cargo ships all the time, insider. They are usually looking for drugs, but this is probably a worse crime than that.

            • KJT

              Fucking up is not a crime unless there is deliberate negligence. Or you are a Sea Captain or, perhaps, Airline pilot.

              Politicians, journalists, most people ashore, can fuck up with impunity and frequently do.

              The time line should have been a lot shorter.

              I know people involved and on the ground. The effort was good for something that was not pre-planned adequately. BUT. The response should have been pre-planned. AND. The lessons from the ship on the reef in Qz should have been taken on board.

              Including one on scene commander with the necessary knowledge and skills. The powers to requisition ships and equipment already exist for the OSC.

      • Blighty 2.1.3

        the fact that Joyce wasn’t there until Friday and Key not until sunday shows how seriously they were taking the issue

        • insider

          or it shows how the seriousness of the issue escalated over time…

          • McFlock

            “or it shows how the seriousness of the issue escalated over time…”

            What, they put more oil in the ship? I can understand reassessing after recovery efforts at the next high tide, but after that it should have been pretty obvious whether the thing was going to take some serious moving, with all the hazards and complications that entails.

            • insider

              Even so, why would you want JK to rush in there emoting all over the place?

              • McFlock

                True – I’d much rather a competent PM or minister who could ask “what do you need that’s not in the plan? What might you need soon? And, just quietly, how bad is it likely to get?”.  E.g. oil booms (I assume they have quite a few on standby in Taranaki).
                Just to ensure that the facts on the ground are in line with the plans described to him in Wellington. It’s called “leadership”.

                • insider

                  I’d expect the same, but I’d expect Joyce to be doing most of that work.

                  Re booms, very little is in Taranaki. Most is in Auckland. They are not much use on the open water and on beaches where the oil is landing- waves make them ineffective. You are better off collecting the oil off the beach and preventing it get back in the water. They may use booms in the harbour where you get gathering points in little bays or to screen bays off.

              • Colonial Viper

                Key’s a fuck wit, why would you want to run cover for him?

                DTB is right with his expectations of rapid action; I personally would have been more lenient on the timeline. “Boots on ship” within 6 hours (even the SAS would struggle to get properly deployed much faster) and oil coming off within 12 i.e. by 2pm that afternoon.

                The fact that Maritime NZ was focussing on setting up little bird cleaning stations and issuing notices 48 hours after the event shows how rudderless they were and how National’s laissez faire attitude has contributed to another disaster.

                • insider

                  ” oil coming off within 12 i.e. by 2pm that afternoon.”

                  How would you have done that, and with what equipment? Or would you have just stamped your foot and held your breath until it happened?

                  • RedLogix

                    Well in hindsight we now know that a priceless window of opportunity was lost in those first four days.

                    Sound familiar?

                    • Blighty

                      It’s not a matter of ‘with hindsight’. The weather was always going to turn. The forecasts were there. It took under Thursday (the grounding was in the early hours of Wednesday) for Maritime NZ to even ask the ship owners to get a plan to get the oil off by which time it was already leaking and no oil got taken off until Sunday.

                      Insider, the government’s job is to grab the bull by the horns and make sure things get done. They are meant to give direction and demand results.

                    • insider

                      The window is in your imagination only. There was no capacity to do it – no gear, no people and the ship’s equipment was apparantly broken. It’s not Star Trek – you can’t just click your fingers and ‘make it so’ no matter how clever you think you are.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The window is in your imagination only. There was no capacity to do it – no gear, no people and the ship’s equipment was apparantly broken. It’s not Star Trek – you can’t just click your fingers and ‘make it so’ no matter how clever you think you are.

                      You’re a fucking tool for backing Key, another fucking tool.


                      Offer of help to pump oil declined

                      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”.

                    • RedLogix

                      Maritime NZ declined an offer of two inflatable barges which could pump up to 100 tonnes of oil at a time.

                      Probably something that looks like this.

                    • Jared

                      Having a barge to store the oil isnt the same as having the pumps and equipment necessary to transfer to the barges

                    • RedLogix

                      If you listened to the Radio NZ link above there is commentary from a marine engineering consultant John Rider explaining that the ship itself had all the necessary equipment to pump the HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil) on board the ship itself.

                      Getting the oil off the barge in port and temporarily storing it would have been another challenge, but surely not insurmountable. Capable engineers can accomplish all sorts of things if they are given the resources to get the job done.

                      Not forgetting of course the Port of Mt Maunganui has a substantial oil handling depot very nearby.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Jared, and it doesn’t mean that the crews had sandwiches for lunch or that the barges aren’t just museum exhibits there to look pretty.

                      Seriously, the guy in charge of Lancer is not an idiot nor is he an asshole, he is head of a highly capable operation, and its not like Maritime NZ even took his offer seriously enough to check out those things.

                    • insider


                      Mnz already own two of these barges. They know what they can and can’t do. You can even see picture of them playing with them on thier website. While no doubt well meaaning it was a pointless offer, as has ben shown numerous times. You’re about 100 comments behind the play

                    • RedLogix

                      While no doubt well meaaning it was a pointless offer, as has ben shown numerous times.

                      Why? And are you suggesting that the guy who makes them doesn’t know the capabilities of his products? Otherwise why would he make the offer?

                      Mnz already own two of these barges.

                      Are you referring to these things?

                      Oil recovery vessels

                      Maritime New Zealand has three oil recovery vessels. They provide a mobile on-water capability when responding to New Zealand’s marine oil spills. They are designed to work in sheltered waters.

                      They are used to:

                      collect and retrieve oil with the assistance of a skimmer
                      apply dispersant
                      position other oil spill equipment
                      store the recovered oil in on-board storage tanks
                      pump the recovered oil to another vessel or tank.

                      They can be packed down for transport by road (on customised trailers or trucks) or by air (in an Air Force Hercules) and deployed anywhere in the country or even overseas.

                      The Taranui was New Zealand’s first oil recovery vessel. She was officially launched in April 2005 and is currently leased by the New Zealand Refining Company and based at Marsden Point in Northland.

                      Tukuperu was launched in November 2005 and is based in Picton. She is strategically located for Cook Strait and South Island maritime activity.

                      Kuaka was launched in December 2005 and is based at Maritime New Zealand’s National Oil Spill Service Centre in Te Atatu, Auckland.
                      Technical specifications of these oil recovery vessels

                      Cost: Around $200,000 each (fitted)
                      Designer: Slickbar
                      Builder: Bos and Carr Ltd, Kumeu, Auckland
                      Length: 8.2 metres
                      Beam: 2.4 metres
                      Engines: Two 90hp 4-stroke outboard engines
                      Speed: 25 knots when empty or seven knots when laden
                      Material: Aluminium
                      Other equipment: Depth sounder, radio, compass, GPS plotter.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      insider. Bet you MNZ don’t have those barges or they are not operational.

                      They should have taken the good ones from Lancer.

                      Even more damning that MNZ sat on its hands setting up bird rescue stations in the first 72 hours, if they actually had them.

                      As KJT has already -said – all the oil should have been pumped off in the first 3 days.

                      You’re about 100 comments behind the play

                      Meh from you, someone who is backing up slowness and incompetence from the Govt saying I am behind the play? lol

                    • insider

                      Cv go to comment and see all the things that “didn’t happen” in the first few days of the incident. Tell us what and how you would have done it differently. Leave the slogans behind and talk us through it and the timings and the equipment you’d be deploying and how you’d get it there.

                      @ red

                      As has been pointed out by a number of people, there was no mechanical delivery system that could have moved the fuel from the ships tanks to the barge. Without the ability to pump fuel they were as useful as para pools. Thats not a criticism, its a matter of circumstance. It appears that the pumping that was done was done via the pumps of the receiving vessel – the plastic lancer barges are non mechanical. And the kuaka etc are just big aluminum dinghies for inshore work. No use in this spill offshore

                    • RedLogix

                      As has been pointed out by a number of people, there was no mechanical delivery system that could have moved the fuel from the ships tanks to the barge

                      Well that is clearly not the opinion of the Marine Engineer RNZ interviewed on The Panel this afternoon.

                      And while personally I’m no marine engineer, professionally I pump around 150,000 tonnes of of water over 100km on a daily basis… so the concept of what is involved with pumping HFO, 40-50m into a barge is not wholly a mystery to me. While the timeframe would have been a bit challenging, the equipment needed is fairly routine really.

                      I’ve banged around the MNZ website a bit and can find no mention of them already owning two of Lancer Industries inflatable barges. The three “Oil Recovery Vessels” they do show on the website are completely different things, and are as you say, totally unsuitable for this task in open water.

                      So it still leaves open the question of why they ignored Lancer Industries offer for equipment that their manufacturer firmly believes would have been able to recover much of the oil before the bad weather struck Monday evening.

                    • insider

                      @ red

                      Not had a chance to listen to it yet but will do – hfo is like treacle. Try pumping that 100 k. It can be done but imagine how big would the pumps be. If you read the mnz reports they were having to climb into the tanks to place hoses. That tells me the onboard pumps were not able to do the job either through failure or broken lines.

                      The lancer guy himself said he supplied them and there is an mnz exercise pic with one shown. It might be listed in the oil spill centre inventory. I’ll check and let you know. I suspect the lancer guy assumed pumps would be available and mnz knew the barges were no use in their absence.

                    • RedLogix

                      hfo is like treacle.

                      Actually it’s more like road tar at ambient temperatures. So how do you think they pump it into the ship engines? They keep the operational tank heated so that the viscosity is low enough to pump with perfectly normal sized pumps.

                      Within hours of grounding all the fuel tanks should have been being heated ready for discharge.

                      If you read the mnz reports they were having to climb into the tanks to place hoses.

                      Nah… you open up the vent pipes at the top of the tank and drop a suction line or submersible pump into it. No-one climbs right inside a full tank of hot fuel. The flammable vapour present would demand breathing apparatus and suitable precautions, but again this is all fairly standard stuff in the oil industry. It’s not like it’s the very first time someone has had to empty an HFO tank in this sort of circumstance.

                      That tells me the onboard pumps were not able to do the job either through failure or broken lines.

                      I doubt that very much. The entire stern section of the ship is completely undamaged. I would be astonished if the damage from the grounding in the forward parts of the ship had disabled the fuel handling systems in the aft.

                      And if you recall even as late as Monday they were successfully pumping fuel from tanks in the forward areas into the aft. If that was possible, then pumping it overboard into a barge has to have been possible as well.

                      The lancer guy himself said he supplied them and there is an mnz exercise pic with one shown.

                      Errr… so if MNZ already had two that he believed capable of doing the job, why was Ron Winstone offering two more? Moreover the man is obviously no fool and must know his business, therefore he would have been perfectly aware of the pumping and piping requirements involved and would not have made the offer if he thought them insurmountable.

                    • RedLogix

                      Right so if MNZ already owned two barges, Lancer Industries would have known this. And Lancer would have been fully aware of what their capability was known to be.

                      So why is Lancer then on the phone offering two more? Especially if both MNZ and Lancer are already of the opinion that they would be of no use?

                      And if that was the case then why did Ron Winstone go public about being ignored… specifically embarrassing one of his more influential customers…. if he wasn’t certain that the equipment he was offering would not do the job?

                      Your defense of MNZ really doesn’t hold …oil in this case.

                    • insider

                      @ red

                      The lancer Guy was offering 100 tonne ones – mnz has ten tonne ones according to their inventory. But I keep coming back to the point – no pumping capacity means they are of no use, like a swimming pool without a water tap. I’m not sure why this is so hard a concept to grasp. I suspect the lancer guy did not know that and nor did the mnz message taker. It’s not been widely publicized it appears.

                      http://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/news/media-releases-2011/20111010d.asp details the need to go inside the tanks to insert heaters and/or hoses. There is a q&a from nick smith which says the pumping system was damaged in the collision and had to be rebuilt. The awanuia has it’s own pumps which I’m assuming can suck and blow.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      All you’re doing now is describing the things which should have been done in the first 72 hours of good weather.

                      Even in this bad weather they’re still going to need the very same barges, hoses, pumps and heaters now.

                      But its just too late.

                    • RedLogix

                      But I keep coming back to the point – no pumping capacity means they are of no use, like a swimming pool without a water tap.

                      If they were shifting HFO from the damaged forward tanks to the aft ones using on-board pumps… then it beggars belief that the tanks in the undamaged aft section couldn’t be pumped from. You wouldn’t be putting fuel into them if you couldn’t pump it out.

                      And at the same time we have John Rider telling us on RNZ that in his experience the ship’s on board fuel handling should have been perfectly adequate for pumping fuel overboard. But instead they resorted to using a jury-rigged submersible pumped placed into the tank via a vent pipe.

                      Logically if the aft fuel handling systems had really been that wrecked in the collision forces of the grounding then the ship’s hull and structures must have been far more internally damaged than they ever admitted to so far….

                      There were some complications getting the pump in and managing the hot fuel vapours, but why this took 4 days to achieve (each day having 24hrs) when they knew they were up against the clock… strikes me as way less than effective. Something doesn’t quite add up here. Really they should have known by Wednesday evening exactly what they needed for the job and had it in place by Friday at the latest.

                      Instead at that stage they were still fritzing around with the legal paper-work.

                      Besides once they did start pumping, far too late, the rigid hulled vessel they were using couldn’t stay alongside in any sort of swell. Maybe a Plan B using flexi-hulls would have been a good idea?

                • mik e

                  setting up photo op for for bird brain Key and Joyce

          • mik e

            It was the farmers and big business wanting to get commodities in and out of the country cheaper so the right wing economic fundamentalists cut all barriers and red tape to make it easy for poor quality ships to compete on the NZ routes.Fishing boats,mining, finance companies deregulation business can do it better mantra it can fuck it up better that’s for sure.Laissez fair is 100% PURE BS.

    • Jasper 2.2

      Hekia Parata had this to say when the question of responding to an oil spill was raised around Petrobas back in April.

      “Maritime New Zealand is responsible for ensuring New Zealand is prepared for, and able to respond to, marine oil spills. The Marine Pollution Response Service consists of internationally respected experts who manage and train a team of around 400 local government and Maritime New Zealand responders. New Zealand has equipment and other stores strategically located around New Zealand. In addition, the Marine Pollution Response Service assists regional councils with exercise and oil spill equipment. The plan is responsive and is regularly evaluated to ensure it meets changing risk profiles.”

      So that team is MIA it would seem, and nor is the plan responsive.

      Of course, no one would ever in their right mind would think a ship would hit an iceberg extensively documented volcanic reef. Definitely not factored into any worst case scenarios it would seem.

      • insider 2.2.1

        So Jasper is your answer that we should have groups of people hovering around each and every reef 24/7 just in case a ship hits one? Is that your definition of a responsive plan? The people you claim are MIA are actually running the response. And this fits exactly into their anticipated scenarios, but that doesn’t mean you can be there and do something the moment it happens. We have lots of police but we still have lots of crime and car accidents.

        • Draco T Bastard

          And this fits exactly into their anticipated scenarios, but that doesn’t mean you can be there and do something the moment it happens.

          No, but it does mean that there should be an immediate response team in the nearest port. It doesn’t mean that the equipment and skills need to be found and then imported.

          • insider

            Well there is a team there. There has been gear brought in – they were dropping dispersant very early on. The response structure is nationally based. They don’t have duplicate stockpiles for the worst possible emergency at every port. Some is distributed but the big kit is in Auckland.

            I have a vague memory that it common here and overseas that it is the ship owner’s responsibility to manage events – they appoint salvors etc initially. I think it is done under international law. they can ask for help from MNZ, of MNZ can take over if they see the need. But initially it is up to owners to control the hazard. Shipping is full of protocols and ancient laws and rights so don’t assume it;s like domestic law.

            • Colonial Viper

              But initially it is up to owners to control the hazard. Shipping is full of protocols and ancient laws and rights so don’t assume it;s like domestic law.

              Meh, your faith in the private sector is your mistake.

              When its NZ’s pristine environment at stake why would you leave it to faraway corporate owners who don’t give a fuck about our country?

            • KJT

              The ship is subject to NZ law while in our waters.
              MNZ and the OSC have comprehensive legal powers to respond to accidents. Including requisitioning vessels and equipment.

              The equipment in NZ is limited because successive Governments have given into lobbying by the shipping industry to keep the oil pollution levy, (paid per registered ton by all ships visiting NZ ports, which pays for pollution control equipment and staff), to a minimum.

              Pressure from Federated farmers to cut shipping costs did not help either.

              • Colonial Viper

                insider is coming up with such a load of shit I think he is being fed it from other sources.

                • insider

                  All I;m doing is reading it on mnz’s public incident response page and the MT Act. I don’t need spoon feeding to think.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    That “Star Trek” comment of yours was thinking? You know the one which said we had no equipment, no capability, no hope? Even though that’s clearly a lie from top to bottom?

                    No, you’re being fed mate and you’re doing a bad job at regurgitating.

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      Doesn’t know much about Trek either. Picard was far too well bought up to ever snap his fingers. Perhaps insider was thinking of Q?
                      WARNING! Bad joke ahead:
                      Worf says to Picard: “We’ve found an alien that can be taught how to knit”
                      Picard yawns and replies: “Big deal. I can make it sew”

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Just awful.

                      What did the Blond Klingon say?

                      “Today was a good day to dye.”

              • insider

                You are right but that law also takes into account the International Convention on Salvage, and lays out processes for MNZ to act. MNZ worked with the master as a salvage operation, as it got worse the Director issued notices to the owners. “The Director considers that Rena is a hazardous ship and she instructed those responsible for the ship to ensure that a reputable salvor be appointed promptly and to keep MNZ informed of all salvage operations. This does not put MNZ in charge of the salvage but gives MNZ the ability to take control if MNZ deems it necessary.”

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Well then, the laws need changing. Obviously, we (the government) needs to be the pre-determined salvager so as to protect our environment. If the “International Convention on Salvage” doesn’t allow us to do that then the “International Convention on Salvage” can go fuck itself.

  3. s y d 3

    key may well be putting up his brighter future signs in hamilton, but they are geting smeared with the black oil here in Mt Maunganui, i’ll see if I can get a photo to put up…

  4. King Kong 4

    Gee its good here. Just when you think it is just a wailing spot for craven Marxists you find out that it is also populated with amateur maritime disaster response experts.

    [lprent: You addressed the site, and if you are addressing the site (as the policy points out) then that means that you are addressing me. Now I’m a cheerful* sysop who doesn’t like being called a marxist or capitalist or any other unearned names even by implication. However I don’t mind the description ‘nasty’.

    A weeks ban for being a dickhead and making a stupid generalization that you don’t have a hope in hell of sustaining while addressing the diversity of the site’s people. Address yourself to individuals and avoid addressing me.

    * I usually get cheerful when I can be nasty within the sites policy… You should have read the policy the last time I pointed it out. ]

  5. alex 5

    Hurricane Ktrina moment happening. John Key does not care about the people of Tauranga.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      This really isn’t on the same scope as Katrina, at all.

      No one’s going to die (unless they do something stupid). The infrastructure of the city isn’t going to be ruined.

      • Ari 5.1.1

        I think the reference was more about the leader completely ignoring a disaster that could have been prevented.

        • MrV

          Do tell us how?

          • The Voice of Reason

            By having properly manned and maintained ships, registered in proper ports, whose crews work in reasonable conditions and receive pay and breaks that are at least equivalent to those in NZ.
            There is a good chance that the scapegoat captain is on less than the minimum wage and has had little or no sleep in the days before the grounding. The Rena visited four ports in the last week or so and the crew was required to be on duty 24/7 in each of those visits. 

            • NickS


              Some international shipping companies rely heavily on flags of convenience and insufficient, cheaply paid crew and slack maintence. Not to keep prices down, but to give them nice fat margins. However, thanks to the WTO and free trade agreements, it pay prove a littl’ difficult to deal with this :/

  6. McFlock 6

    Not to mention the occasional troll in a “giant gorilla” suit.

  7. KJT 7

    They have arrested the Captain.

    Pity the same standard of responsibility is not expected of other people in power.

    When are we going to see the arrests for the slow moving shipwreck successive Governments have made of our country.

    Starting with the directer of MNZ for not having plans in place for this eventuality.

    They were warned, when cabotage was removed, that the standard of shipping on our coast would drop and this type of incident would become more common.

    • Tiger Mountain 7.1

      True KJT, the seafarers warned about this in the early 90s that there were many good reasons for local ships and crews to move local cargo and be the default crews for the Australia New Zealand routes. Foreign flagged ships with slave crews were judged way more likely to cause this type of incident as has been proven around the world many unfortunate times.

  8. It’s all ok, it’s all ok …. don’t panic. Govt. will let Big Business decide what to do! Just like NZ liquor laws, we will do more research alcohol levels!
    Don’t panic, don’t panic!!!! Cheers.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Key-words: Hoist. Petard.

    I don’t expect John Key to have instant answers to a ship running aground and leaking oil. But here’s the thing … he likes to pretend he does.

    Key is not a practice-preach right-winger, a hands-off small-government leader. He is a managerial authoritarian, who likes to stick his finger in every pie that’s on the media menu.

    If he hadn’t spent the last three years acting as if NZ was his personal fiefdom, people might have lower expectations of him and his government today.

    But he’s played the role of Mr Fixit … if there’s a populist issue in the media, he’ll announce that he’s gonna sort it all out for us. Passports for League players, Coro Street on the telly, Hobbits, you name it, John’s got his cape and tights on, he’s coming to save the day!

    Short-term gain … easy popularity points. It’s worked well for him.

    Long-term problem … Behaviourism 101. Train the public like lab rats. They learn to expect JK’s intervention in everything, and – what a surprise! – they want more.

    So, clean up this mess, John. Don’t talk about “proper channels” or “experts” or “appropriate agencies”. You toss those aside whenever you feel like it.

    Your game, your rules. Your problem.

  10. The Voice of Reason 10

    It looks like the ship has broken its spine. That is not good news for any possible refloating attempt and probably means the Rena is with us forever now.

    • McFlock 10.1


      Well, it’s been humping rocks for a week.

    • higherstandard 10.2

      The best that can be hoped for now is that the oil tanks that have been sealed don’t rupture and that they can be salvaged along with as much as possible from the vessel.

      Whether they can blow the bugger off the reef and make a dive site or reef out of it is another matter.

      It will be interesting/depressing to see what led to this fuck up and whether we can get the full billion that the parent company is insured for in relation to the environmental cleanup – I suspect we’ll be needing every cent of it.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.1

        I’m pretty sure the fuel cost as a proportion of the total cost of fish in the supermarket is pretty low.

        With the back of the ship broken every other structure onboard is now getting pulled, pushed and twisted. Fixtures and welds will be coming apart along the entire length.

        Total fuck up. The next 72 hours don’t matter as its only going to go one way now, the very first 72 hours did.

        • higherstandard

          Take some deep breaths, have a cup of tea and wait to see what can be done and indeed what could have been done, let’s face it no-one on this site or amongst the general public really knows whether this has been handled as well as could have been expected or not. Frothing on the interwebs will achieve very little – unless of course you find it therapeutic to do so.

          • Colonial Viper

            let’s face it no-one on this site or amongst the general public really knows whether this has been handled as well as could have been expected or not.

            Actually higherstandard you are setting a lower standard.

            The bar should not be set at “what could have been expected” the bar should be set at “what should have been possible”.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      It’s not going to be re-floated – not now. Weather doesn’t clear till Thursday/Friday and the swell will be round awhile after that. She’s fucked.

      Doubt if you could pump the oil out now either – just too dangerous.

      • insider 10.3.1

        With the Erika, they took 10kt of HFO off the ship nearly a year later. It can be done.

        • Draco T Bastard

          I take it that the ship was sitting on the bottom and not broken up into tiny bits by wave action against rocks?

          • insider

            No the Erika broke into two segments and sank – much as we might see happen here. It broke in a storm not on rocks. It still sank though.

            • Draco T Bastard

              It’s the rocks that make the difference. The Rena will broken up on the rocks. Some of the fuel tanks may survive though.

              • NickS

                Well, the bulk of the ship that’s sitting on the reef isn’t likely to go anywhere, so there’s long term engineering options to right it first, then salvage. But the stern’s another issue, as that contains the engines and if the compartment’s breached it’ll lead to a major release of toxic lubricants and fuel oil and it’s not that buoyant or balanced either, so it’s going to be a right pain to drag into port to decom and break up…

  11. Bored 11

    Its all OK, Jokey Hen has the reef marked out as part of the Memorial Cycleway. Hundreds of volunteer Young Nat fitness freaks are gathering from all over NZ as we speak, hurtling their cycles down farm tracks, avoiding trucks on the main roads as they bike to the rescue. Their backpacks are replete with volumes of Ayn Rands works, lovingly donated from the Vic Uni Young ACT party members, to be used page by page as blotting paper for the oil. Atlas has shrugged.

    Where might the blotted paper be deposited? Jokey has just received a request from the Parnell Young Nazis to hold a book burning in his security compound (aka residence). More CO2 but what the hell.

  12. Herodotus 12

    This is not the first time in recent history NZ has had to contend with oil. So there should have been some experience in what is expected to minimise the damage and how to deal with the wreakage.
    I will love to see how Nat plans to sell deep sea oil drilling now, when we cannot even handle a small spill.
    As an aside in NZ Gregraphic the editorial was of interest- In summary we can value the fish that can be harvested out of the sea, yet our current models are unable to value pristine untouched eco systems and the value of the fish remaining in the sea. Perhaps as a silver linning on this “100% pure” and the value we place on the environment may have just increased in political capital. Perhaps the greens may now beable to transfer poll results to MP’s?

  13. Bored 13

    No soldiers cleaning up.….thats correct, its a long way from Kabul.

  14. randal 14

    Just nearly fell off the floor. I read kung kang going on about amateur maritime experts and hey presto up pops jerkey on the wireless pontificating like he has been doing martitime disasters al his life. not.

  15. I wonder if you guys would blame key, I take it he wasnt at the helm.

    • Blighty 15.1

      no-one is saying he was. We’re saying that it’s his job to lead the fixing of the problem.

      If he doesn’t want that responsibility, he can quit.

    • The Voice of Reason 15.2

      He’s been asleep at the helm for 3 years now, Brett. Or possibly drunk at the wheel, I forget which.

    • mik e 15.3

      At the helm of the publicity machine when he needed to sort out a problem he shifts responsibility to the side.Govt debt$52 billion of debt could be wiped out by giving up the tax cuts the rest would be taken care of with the income from the four energy companies income[ which have increased their already outstanding return to record returns ]and CGT on which is now untaxed income it craws in my throat that I am paying a very high rate of tax and these guys get of scot free.While borrowing Bills English is painting us all into corner with a very large financial hole in it.This cost cutting reducing compliance that the neoliberal keep pushing would be easier to swallow if these take no responsibility for the debt [$77billionby 2015 providing their are no more financial upheavals]Also paid tax like the rest of us and got the govts books in order, these tax free incomers are free loading just like SCF these investors are being subsidized by the rest of us.These tax free loaders have borrowed heavily some from weak lenders as well like SCF so the finance company is bailed out those who pay tax.its a Rip off of the productive sector while the speculator gets rewarded.

  16. Someone called ‘John Riding’ (sp) seemed to know what he was talking about on The Panel here

    He starts about 8min15s into the audio. He was careful, for some reason, to try to avoid blaming ‘Ministers’ but, otherwise, he was talking from some type of expertise.

    • Bill 16.1

      Excellent link. Cheers.

      What I took from it ( and there was a fair amount of other stuff there besides ) was that we have bureaucrats who are empowered but who act like rabbits cuaght in headlights when reality comes knocking.

      And I’m betting the top of the bureaucratic food chain is inhabited by types who are very good at holding important sounding meetings that are composed of fluff. (Dotting ‘i’s and crossing ‘t’s)

      And I’m betting that the second tier adheres to the fluff and agrees that it’s all very important…which is how they advance through the ranks.

      And they all come together in seminars and so on and confirm to one another that the fluff is crucially important.

      Then reality hits and they spend 24 hours upgrading their computer systems or some such. (eg Red Cross in Ch/ch apparently) And then they spend time stepping through procedures that are informed by the fluff that they all agreed is important and so genuinely feel and believe that they are achieving something.

      Meanwhile, reality just keeps on trucking.

      And we get this shit (again)…this focus on fluff leading to bags of activity and no action. (meaning we get reports, observations, contingencies laid in place and god knows what else…and nothing done; no dirty hands)

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        Currently we have 80% planning 20% execution. That model (and it is one Labour has endorsed as well) must die.

        Now, it’s got to be 20% planning, 80% execution. This is the future.

  17. Draco T Bastard 17

    Just came up on 3news – apparently the government knew a year ago that we needed a fast response ship capable of taking fuel off stricken ships and did nothing about it.

      • Bill 17.1.1

        watched the video. question. Why is that prick, Joyce allowed to get away with suggesting there is some (unspecified) high falutin’ technical conundrum involved in a tanker offloading its cargo?

        Puddlegums radio link above (Comment 16) has a maritime engineer with direct experience on same/similar vessels stating quite categorically that the vessels themselves have the necessary equipment to pump their loads.

        • Puddleglum

          That’s right Bill.

          And he mentioned the need to heat the oil to pump it (which is part of the argument that ‘technically’ it’s difficult) but said that could have been done pretty early on and that, anyway, they always have one tank heated since they draw their own fuel from it.

          • KJT

            A ship half afloat and half on the rocks has a very high probability of breaking up with the first bad weather.

            The forecast showed a window of good weather then NE gales.

            Usually only the oil in the tanks in use are heated.

            The ship was likely to lose power if more damage occurred.

            All the more reason to make the response as fast as possible.

            While: The fuel was still hot or could be heated, The ship had power for pumps, (All the ships I have been on have some capability to pump fuel back ashore) and The ship was still intact.

            There is plenty of expertise in ship to ship transfers in NZ. Apart from the Navy there are rig tender, FPSO, tanker and bunker barge crews.

            I suspect too much time was wasted deciding what to do and who was responsible.

            Oil booms are a waste of time in rough water and dispersants just hide the problem. Apart from often being more of a hazard than oil.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I suspect too much time was wasted deciding what to do and who was responsible.

              The more I read on the sequence of events, hear of what was available and when the more I think it’s a bad case of arse covering.

          • Colonial Viper

            They would have had one tank heated on the first day of trouble. Could have gone cold thereafter with a loss of power or other safety measures.

            The first 72 hours were crucial for action, and they were wasted.

    • insider 17.2

      Not quite. The Maritime Union suggested it. but a report this year into our capability by experts makes no mention of it http://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/Publications-and-forms/Environmental-protection/OPPRC-Review-February-2011.pdf

      And let’s be real. They would never have been able to buy and crew a vessel that quickly. It took two years to buy three small outboard boats for oil response in 2003-2005.

      • Draco T Bastard 17.2.1

        I suspect buying such a vessel could have been done fairly quickly (Yes, I googled that). The crew could have been trained while it was being built. If they’d pulled finger and bought it rather than going away to think about it we could have had the ship here and in operation.

        • Colonial Viper

          Oh why spend money on a one in 50 year event when you’re only in Parliament for a few years. Just take the risk and funnel the money otherwise spent to mates!

        • insider

          Yes in the real world it could be done but we are talking about govt – how long has it taken them to get gun sights for the army?

          But this is about proportionality and affordability. Even amsa, the Aussie msa, don’t have such a ship, and look at the size of their oil industry

          • Colonial Viper

            The only relevant delay here was the 72 hour one which occurred just after 2am last Wed night.

            And blaming Govt? Fuck off, Govt can move fast when it wants to. Waiting for the private sector to act has killed all the beaches at the Mount.

            • Jim Nald

              A Tory government can’t and doesn’t move fast?
              Tories are better at shrinking government and shirking responsibilities.

              • Draco T Bastard

                A Tory government moves fast when theirs tax cuts to give themselves and their rich mates. Not so fast, if at all, when it involves doing something for the nation.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Just saying it’s government doesn’t automatically make it bad or incompetent. That’s a myth spread by the privatisers. I’ve been in big corporations that couldn’t move as fast as or as efficiently as government.

            But this is about proportionality and affordability.

            If we could afford the tax cuts this government gave to the rich then we could have (before the tax cuts) afforded buying a small ship. As for proportionality , well, we’re a trading nation at the bottom end of the world with a huge marine area with lots of ships in it, IMO, having one or two small ships to respond to those ships being in trouble wouldn’t be out of line.

            • Colonial Viper

              This “proportionality” thing is such a load of made up shit.

              Hey insider, you wanna tell the All Blacks that they should give up now and let the bigger countries walk over them in terms of talent and resources?

              This country could be one of the greatest in the world, if it wasn’t for small scale ‘proportional’ thinkers like insider.

  18. Barry 18

    Interesting to look at Maritime NZ’s budget. Government contribution hasn’t increased in 3 years (which means a cut in real terms). Industry contributions have deceased (due to recession?). It may seem that government departments are coping with cuts, but then this comes along and the lack of resources becomes obvious.

    How could MAF cope with a Foot and Mouth outbreak? Could hospitals cope with something like SARS? Cutting the public service relies on continuing fair weather and good luck.

  19. prism 19

    It seems part of a trend here in NZ. An event happens then action follows at a snail’s pace and safety becomes the prime concern.
    Action on the Rena has to be delayed while the authorities take all power to themselves and then consult various specialists and supposedly top experts. The minimum is done only after urgent requests. The wildlife people are beside themselves, very uncomfortable position, and did manage to get a minor boom from the Marine authority set up in an estuary and worked on it to make it function, but it should have been a major boom size. But everyone was waiting for some experts. And we hear about safety all the time. Yet we are in the adventure capital of the world; people accept managed risk when it isn’t important, even necessary, but we can’t do so when it is. It is a crazy attitude.

    In Christchurch, same blocking approach quoting safety so nothing could be done by the general public while others could go in and wreck their buildings at will.

    In Pike River, family would have understood risks and should have been in on all meetings and consulted with.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      A timid country ruled over by coverass bureacrats. And these are the political leaders.

  20. NickS 20


    For fuck’s sake, and what makes it worse is that smile-and-wave is now saying kiwis will now have to pay for some of the costs, instead of going after the shipping company for them.

  21. freedom 21

    “This afternoon, Prime Minister John Key conceded that the taxpayer may have to payout too.
    “There is a cap on the level of insurance liability. Any costs beyond that would fall on the taxpayer.”

    quick question,
    Why does the taxpayer have to pay one cent ?

    Sure we have to cover immediate costs now, but every single cent of that debt should be passed on to the master, the owners of the vessel, the company who hired the boat and every private party who had an interest in or a commercial benefit from that vessel. It does not matter that the insurance liability is insufficient. That is the free market high-risk environment the owners decided to operate their business in. If they do not buy enough insurance, that is not the problem of the NZ taxpayer. I accept there is a cap on what the Insurance companies pay. After that the owners have to dip into their own pockets. I am confident many taxpayers in Christchurch could explain the finer points of that issue.

    If we end up owning a shipping company to settle the debt then we end up owning a shipping company.

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      The shipping industry is populated by shell companies/holding companies according to a previous poster.

      The owners of the Rena will disappear into bankruptcy and you’ll be lucky to find a $100 note left in their rent by the week Moroccan offices.

      • NickS 21.1.1

        Perhaps we can finally put the SIS and SAS to more benign uses then hunting down the owners and their assets?

      • freedom 21.1.2

        It is all so commonplace these days and yet the people who are paid to monitor that type of behaviour and regulate the various Industries are always so very busy writing funding reports and changing regulations that they forget to ever apply any of the regulations they report on.

        It is an endemic problem in the system, hedge fund anyone?
        We are just little ol’ NZ, I get that, but am i being unreasonable to expect that an effort will at least be made to recoup the costs before our kids get yet another zero added onto the debt?

        • Draco T Bastard

          …but am i being unreasonable to expect that an effort will at least be made to recoup the costs before our kids get yet another zero added onto the debt?

          Nope, won’t happen though – not with a Tory government in power. I’d be surprised if Labour chased up the debt actually. Both are owned by the corporations and shit like this is something that they protect those corporations from.

          • Colonial Viper

            No, have to disagree with you here. Labour is not ruled by corporate nor private sector money, not in the sense that you are meaning. (In terms of a free market, neoliberal ideology, perhaps still partially).

            Further the organisations causing real trouble for NZ are the foreign banks, not the shipping companies.

            Eg. Westpac, whom Simon Power has just joined in a very senior position.

            • RedLogix

              Eg. Westpac, whom Simon Power has just joined in a very senior position.

              OT I know… but which bank has won the tender for government business this year?

              • insider

                It hasn’t been tendered for years – i believe it is on an open ended contract

                  • freedom

                    this is a bit off topic, only something doesn’t add up in that article
                    (“a master banking agreement — covering all government departments “) + ( ” the contract, which was worth about $4 million.” ) = does not compute

                    the whole situation does beg the question just when Simon Power knew he had what must be one of the most perk heavy banker jobs in the world?

                  • Jasper

                    What’s to bet Power’s going to have a huge conflict of interest about the tender contract and insider knowledge that will no doubt benefit Westpac.

                    Westpac should be excluded from the tender process.

      • NickS 21.1.3

        Actually, it’s one of the “legit” companies:

        So suing them for damages may actually be a bit easier, especially as they have publicly traded stock on the major stock exchanges.

    • KJT 21.2

      Costamares is probably worth more than NZ 🙂

      MSC certainly is.

  22. Craig Glen Eden 22

    John Key and National are clearly cursed or very unlucky lets bring back Lucky Labour.

    • MrSmith 22.1

      Jinkskey would have to be the unluckiest PM bar none! I don’t think I can stand another three years. ‘please resign Jinkskey before someone flys a plane into the sky tower.’

  23. RedBaron 24

    Slightly off course, but why were tugs not dispatched from Auckland sooner? Looks like they didn’t arrive until Sat morning, so was it a case of being too busy berthing Rugby world cup cruise liners to attend to oil spills?

  24. Jan 25

    I recall that in Marilyn Waring’s film on Sex, Lies and Global Economics is a 1995 a convincing case being made that oil spills – especially really big ones cause GDP to grow. Lignite-mining, fracking, oil tanks disgorging into the ocean. With initiatives like these coming thick and fast can a brighter future be far behind?

    • Puddleglum 25.1

      Well, I guess we could set light to the sea now. That would brighten New Zealand up a bit (see it pretty easily from satellites, too).

      • lprent 25.1.1

        Heavy fuel oil isn’t that easy to ignite at the best of times. After being immersed in seawater, even less so. You don’t see many plumes of black smoke over papamoa, and I suspect that you will not (unless people want to smell a high sulphur smoke and waste lot of accelerants..)

        • Colonial Viper

          yep. Bunker C has to be preheated to over 120 deg C before it can be used (burnt) in a furnace.

  25. felix 26

    And that’s that.

  26. Afewknowthetruth 27

    Allowing the beaches to become grossly contaminated makes it all the easier to push ahead with a corporate-owned and corporate-operated clean-up service, which can then charge taxpayers cost-plus-profit for the disasters generated by corporations.

    Key and his mates have probably already got the plan worked out, including who will be directors, who will be the front men, which companies get the infrastricture contracts, which companies get the supply contracts ….

    If ever in doubt about anything National does, always follow the money trail.

    “I see no conflict of interest.”

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 27.1

      You believe that John Key sank the Rena?

      Well, I have to give you marks for consistency.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 27.1.1

        Ya reckon Sid Holland derailed the train at Tangiwai?

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

          Jim Bolger almost certainly killed the Bain family.

          • felix

            He isn’t implying anything of the sort.

            Have another read of his comment (slowly, remember to breathe) and tell me precisely which part you find so irrational as to ridicule it so.

            I can’t see anything remotely controversial in it.

            • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

              Do you accept that he is alleging that John Key is “allowing the beaches to become grossly contaminated” in order to profit from a “corporate-owned and corporate-operated clean-up”?

              If not, why not?

              If so, do you consider this “uncontroversial”?

              • felix

                He didn’t say that. He said allowing that to happen makes it easier to to the kind of things Key and his ilk like to do.

                You’ve interpreted that as meaning “John Key sank the Rena”. Bit mental.

                • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                  Seriously? You’re going with that?

                  • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                    I’ll give you a free do over.

                    • felix

                      No need, you’ve made quite an absurd mental leap and I’ve pointed it out.

                    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                      Read that again. Are you really telling me that (moderately) renowned conspiracy theorist Afewknowthetruth is not alleging that John Key is deliberately allowing the beach to become contaminated (by inaction or sinking the ship I cannot tell) to benefit what Afewknowthetruth would call his “rich mates”?

                      Just between us. No points at stake. I fear for the sanity of one of us (I accept it may be me) if you cannot see that in there.

                    • lprent []

                      Personally I just view John Key as being rather lazy, craven and vaguely stupid. The jury Is still out on venal.

                      He does appear to be good at getting his ministers to outperform him in these traits – probably because this makes him look better.

                      I also appear to be a lot closer to AFKTT’s position than whatever one you are not advocating. You seem to have picked up a dose of vaguely stupid from JK or his ministers, so I cannot point out where my views diverge from yours. But I would suggest getting treated for gormless fool syndrome at the earliest available opportunity. After all you have no idea to what part of your anatomy it will spread to next (lazy colon?) or how infectious it gets (employer business failure?)…

                    • felix

                      No idea. AFKTT may have some wild theory about this for all I know, but he hasn’t said anything like what you accused him of saying (“John Key sank the Rena” etc).

                      It’s one thing to to say someone did something, and another to say someone sees an opportunity to play the angles for his own benefit after the fact.

                    • RedLogix

                      AFFKTT is coming from this angle. The entire neo-liberal, de-regulation experiment was predicated on the idea that if government was drowned in the bathtub, then the fabulously efficient capitalist free market would solve all problems.

                      The Nats, and JK as their figure-head, reflexive response to ANYTHING is to leave it the magical hand of the market. That’s why Bill English can boast about cutting 2000 jobs from the public sector, and promise far more if he’s re-elected… and get away with it.

                      For these people, dismantling government capacity is seen as a virtue; even if it comes at the cost of the $20-30b leaky home crisis, 14 dead at Cave Creek, 29 dead at Pike River … or an MSA that is so under-resourced that the BOP winds up covered in oil.

                      It’s quite astounding how people how people will delude themselves when it involves the beliefs with which they construct their self-identity. Like those who bath in raw sewerage and yet declare the Ganges to be pure and holy.

      • freedom 27.1.2

        i’m guessing those aren’t jellybeans in your avatar, didn’t the doctor say only one a day?

        • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

          Why would I eat balloons?

          • felix

            Depends what’s in the balloons I suppose…

          • freedom

            now you made me click it to see it properly, and if i am seeing it properly may i say what an impressive ammo collection, where was the mighty battle that required so many water bombs?

  27. felix 28

    Today on RadioLive (where John Key works) renowned environmentalist Paul Henry reckoned that there’s nothing wrong with dumping containers in the sea ‘cos they’re made of steel and steel is a natural product.

    He also reckoned that oil is just plant and other organic matter compressed over millions of years so there’s nothing wrong with dumping that in the sea either.

    The planet will sort it out he said.

    • Colonial Viper 28.1

      The planet will sort it out he said.

      Someone empty a dozen drums of crude on to his front yard and see if that racist bastard’s attitude remains the same when its his property ruined by a spill, instead of the commons.

    • Lanthanide 28.2

      “He also reckoned that oil is just plant and other organic matter compressed over millions of years so there’s nothing wrong with dumping that in the sea either.”

      He is just slightly, partly, right, here, although probably more by accident than anything else. The amount of oil being spilled here really isn’t terribly much, in the grand scheme of things. Without human intervention it would probably be mostly diluted down in about 6 months by nature, and probably after 2-3 years you could barely tell it happened at all.

      Of course humans would rather it didn’t happen at all, or was all cleaned up within 1 month tops.

      • Colonial Viper 28.2.1

        Lanth, this is not a cosmetic issue.

        Apart from the damage to the biosphere, you’re not accounting for small things like businesses and livelihoods are ruined, whose household budgets are going to fall apart because they can’t supplement their groceries with food from the beaches and sea, and whose property values have just dropped by 10% in the last week.

        Of course, on a geological timescale, humanity is irrelevant.

    • Lanthanide 28.3

      You can reply to your own posts, making it appear chronologically below felix’s and not clutter up another thread.

    • Colonial Viper 28.4

      Who gives a shit about all that.

      National wasted 72 good weather hours. They’ve condemned the area around Tauranga and the Mount to being a fucking mess.

    • Jasper 28.5

      Well technically, some forms of oil are plant and other organic matter. Steel is a natural product – we sink steel ships anyway. It’s whats currently, and has been, in the containers thats a greater danger.

      Can’t agree with him on dumping oil in the sea though.

  28. fender 29

    Guess these are the environmental terrorists we need that video surveillance for. Any country that cares about their environment should have the means to deal with ships running aground if its willing to have said ships in its waters. NZ has failed itself. Lets see our superman PM impose retrospective legislation to cope with this one. Shipping company should pay every cost incurred for this total fuckup, word has it the skippers birthday was the day Rena ran aground, were they partying? Was our PM onboard ? Was he at the helm? Did he do this on purpose so he could justify selling essential assets to pay for a cleanup? Fucked if I know but him and his govt are bad for our economy and with the way trouble follows them around I also think they are bad luck.

  29. johnm 30

    Too late now. Ideally an emergency response plan should have been immediately available to use oil removal storage barges and to supply tugs for just such an eventuality: we should have said: this type of disaster sooner or later will happen(It’s happened in many other parts of the World) we need at least a 48 hour lead time till off loading all the oil takes place. This emergency planning with physical resources takes money (and maintaining equipment and personnel takes money as well)(In some circumstances with the best will in the world very little can be done) and is not the sort of thing neo-liberal governments do because they do not believe they must support the common good–look at Katrina and New Orleans for instance.Corporatisation and privatised risk they think are the best ways to go.

    Let me say I’m saddened by this terrible disaster blighting the beautiful seas, beaches and wildlife. How could this happen to us?

  30. Jenny 31

    The good news.
    The sea is calming.
    The Rena has not broken up.
    The previously unsupported stern end has been swung around by the sea and onto the reef.
    A serious plan to remove the remaining majority bulk of the oil from the ship is being implemented.

    The very worst possible scenario may be prevented.

    My thanks to all those responsible. May your efforts be crowned with success.

    God bless. You are all heroes. Stay safe.

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