In the three years since the MV Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef the owner and insurer have been responsible for a series of ongoing salvage and recovery operations. In 2012 – Resolve Salvage & Fire was appointed to cut down and clear wreckage and debris from within the debris field at the wreck site, often in difficult and often dangerous conditions.
Resolve has spent the last seven months on an industrial scale operation using specialist salvage equipment and divers to clear cargo and other debris from the Reef. This operation has reached the stage where the scale and type of operation is no longer an efficient or practicable way of recovering debris. A transition of operations from Resolve to a local firm is underway to engage a New Zealand based operator to complete a final stage, mainly using commercial divers to remove debris by hand. This work will bring the wreck site to its proposed consented state, which will be assessed as part of the resource consent application process later this year.
The appointment of a local firm is expected by the end of February, at which time Resolve will provide a handover briefing before departing from Tauranga.
Both during these operations and afterwards the Rena’s owner and insurer will have monitoring of the wreck site and the reef environment in place according to a protocol agreed with the Regional Council and other agencies, and will continue the shoreline debris monitoring that has been in place since the grounding. There will be measures in place to respond to any release of flotsam or other material from the wreck site. This will continue throughout the period required to finally determine the owner’s resource consent application and if it is granted, this monitoring would continue for a further ten years.