Royal New Zealand Navy continues to support Operation RENA
The Royal New Zealand Navy has been involved extensively with Maritime New Zealand since the grounding of the RENA on Wednesday the 5th October. During this time the RNZN has provided the following support: vessels to patrol the exclusion zone, vessels and aircraft for search and rescue, maritime support to oil containment and, container survey and salvage operations to ensure the shipping entrance to Port of Tauranga remains clear of debris.
HMNZS ENDEAVOUR, MANAWANUI, ROTOITI AND TAUPO have been tasked over the course of the clean up with providing imagery, transport , patrolling of the exclusion zone and providing weather and condition updates to Maritime NZ. HMNZS PUKAKI was brought in from Devonport Naval Base over the weekend to relieve TAUPO for other taskings.
The RNZN Littoral Warfare Support Group have swept the entire main Port of Tauranga channel for containers using the mine sweeper C-Max system, able to detect debris within 150m radius and have reported the channel to be clear.
Number 6SQN have also been supporting the operation, providing a Seasprite helicopter to assist Maritime New Zealand with aerial observation, surveillance, VIP transport and transport of salvage experts to and from MV RENA. Helicopters are assisting conservation staff with personnel and wildlife transport also including airlifting cleaning equipment across to Motiti Island.
A plan to move to 24/7 salvage ops is being considered in order to maximise the amount of oil removed from the RENA as soon as possible. This will require night SAR coverage from the Seasprite and Iroquois helicopter that are currently of 45min standby reducing to 15 minutes when required.
The Royal New Zealand Navy, alongside the wider New Zealand Defence Force, will continue to provide support to Maritime New Zealand and the greater Tauranga region during this crisis.