The wreck of the ill-fated containership MV Rena no longer posses a danger to navigation in the Astrolabe Reef region, according to maritime organization Maritime New Zealand.
As a result, the organization has withdrawn two statutory notices relating to the wreck issued after the vessel grounded on the reef on 5 October 2011.
The notices declared the wreck a hazard to navigation and a hazardous ship, requiring the owners of the vessel to undertake work to address the navigational hazard and discharge of harmful substances, and inform Maritime NZ of progress being made.
Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch said salvage and clean-up work undertaken since the grounding meant there was now no proper basis for the notices under the Maritime Transport Act.
“Significant effort has gone into salvage and safe removal of harmful substances,” he says. “While some oil remains trapped in the wreckage of the vessel, most of the harmful substances contained within the ship have been discharged into the sea and have either been removed or have been, and will continue to be, monitored under the plan provided for under the resource consent.”
In terms of navigational safety, Manch noted that more than 22,000 tonnes of debris had been removed from the seabed.
“The information and evidence available to me indicates that all reasonable efforts have been made to remove entanglement hazards and wreckage, where possible. I have concluded that the wreck and remaining debris on the sea floor no longer constitute a hazard to navigation.”
New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty Regional Council decided in February to leave the wreck on the reef, granting its owners Daina Shipping permission to “dump” the remains of the 47,230 dwt vessel and to discharge any harmful substances or contaminants from the wreck that may occur over time as a result of the degradation of the vessel.
The 2011-grounding saw MV Rena spill more than 300 tonnes of oil into the Bay of Plenty, causing what has been described as “New Zealand’s worst maritime environmental disaster”.