Next stage of Rena removal begins

8:39 am on 26 July 2012

Planning for the removal of the bow of the container ship Rena that is stuck on the Astrolabe Reef of the Bay of Plenty coast is getting underway.

Staff of the American salvage company Resolve, which has been hired to remove the wreck, will meet the insurers of the Rena on Thursday.

The insurers, who announced the appointment of Resolve on Wednesday, expect the US company to begin cutting up the bow section, which remains firmly wedged on the reef off Tauranga, in a couple of weeks.

The owners also plan to investigate how they can remove the rest of the ship - the rest of the bow below the waterline and the stern which is completely under water - as they are required to do by law.

Locals in Bay of Plenty have welcomed the news that almost ten months after the container ship ran aground, the next stage of the Rena's removal from the reef is getting under way.

Russ Hawkins, who runs the charter boat fishing company Fat Boy Charters, says he lost 50% of his earnings in the four months after the grounding and the announcement is progress at last.

He says if the two nautical mile exclusion zone around the Rena can be reduced or removed in future, that would make a huge difference.

Bay of Plenty Fishermen's Association president Brian Kiddie says the sooner the salvors get on with the job the better.

He says until the wreck is dealt with, there can be no fishing in the area.

Tauranga Marine Charters owner Brett Keller told Morning Report the bow of the Rena is an eyesore and none of it should be left sitting on the reef.

He says doing so would cause major problems for recreational fishermen.

Julian Fitter from the Maketu-Ongatoro Wetlands Trust says if all of the ship is not removed, it will probably be knocked off the reef by a big storm.