The owner and insurers of the MV Rena are to propose
leaving part of the wrecked cargo ship on the Astrolabe Reef,
as the clean-up bill passes $275 million.
It was this afternoon announced that one proposal being put
forward in a new round of community consultation would
involve an application for resource consent to leave
remaining sections of the wreck on the reef off the Tauranga
coast, which the Rena struck just over 500 days ago.
If left, the remaining sections would be made safe, while
future regeneration of marine life around the reef would also
"The proposal would provide for ongoing monitoring of the
wreck's structural integrity, any remaining cargo and
surrounding reef sediments, as well as arrangements to make
safe any damage or potential hazard identified over time,"
said Captain John Owen of insurers The Swedish Club.
An ongoing onshore debris management plan, run by locally
employed contractors, would remain in place for the coastline
and beaches of the offshore islands and the Bay of Plenty
"Our work programme for the rest of the year will focus on
addressing contaminants, the removal of debris from a 10,000
square metre area around the wreck and in due course, to make
it safer for recreational diving," he said.
The proposal follows more than 16 months of operations that
have so far cost more than $275 million, and included various
technical assessments on the options for full and partial
Removing the entire wreck would mean extending the period the
exclusion zone would need to remain in place, involve greater
disturbance to and destruction of the reef environment and
present major operational challenges, including risks to
workers operating in volatile and dangerous conditions, the
ship's owner and insurers said.
The wreck would not pose a hazard to navigation and should
not be a threat to the marine environment, so the further
significant costs and risks associated with attempting full
removal were considered not to be warranted.
"We will be seeking further feedback on the proposal from the
Bay of Plenty community, which will include more hui with
local iwi and hapu groups before a final decision is made,"
Mr Owen said.
If the company gained consent it would establish a
"restoration package" to fund a range of research
scholarships and grants for projects in the Bay of Plenty.
- By Jamie Morton of the New Zealand Herald