25 Jul 2012

Some of Rena wreck to remain on Astrolabe Reef for now

9:08 pm on 25 July 2012

The insurer for the container ship Rena says some of the wreck will be left on the Astrolabe Reef.

American salvage company Resolve has been appointed to remove the bow section of the Rena, which remains firmly wedged on the reef off Tauranga.

The Rena's owners, Costamare, announced the successful tenderer on Wednesday during a visit to Motiti Island, where containers and other debris washed up.

Captain John Owen senior claims manager for insurer The Swedish Club says helicopters, barges and cranes will be used to reduce the bow section so it is no longer visible.

However he says there are difficulties because it is a very substantial bulk of steel, and putting diving and salvage personnel into a surf zone is very hazardous.

He says there will be something left there because of the practicalities of working in such an area, however investigations are underway on how those remnants could be removed.

Captain Owen says work will start in the next couple of weeks.

A representative of Costamare says it is a very difficult and potentially dangerous location to conduct operations, and the plan from Resolve will mean the wreck can be reduced in a controlled and safe way.

The removal of the wreck from the Astrolabe reef is the next stage of the process after all of the accessible containers were removed earlier this year.

A director of Costamare is in Tauranga this week meeting with iwi and community leaders.

Iwi wants complete removal of wreck

Meanwhile, a Tauranga iwi says it would review its position on the removal of the container ship Rena if it were told lives could be lost in the process.

Charlie Tawhiao of Ngai te Rangi says the iwi wants the wreck to be completely removed from the reef.

He says no one has demonstrated that lives could be lost doing that.