More than two years after the container ship Rena struck coral and capsized off the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island, salvage divers are still hard at work trying to stage the ship for removal, according to the New Zealand Herald. The salvage operation, which continues this month in the Bay of Plenty, has become one of the longest, most challenging and expensive salvage efforts in history, the Herald noted.
The wreckage of the Rena has been lodged in a section of the renowned Astrolabe Reef off the Tauranga coast since it first grounded there on Oct. 5, 2011. Aside from being a logistical nightmare to remove, the Rena also caused serious environmental damage in the sensitive area when it spilled 350 tonnes of oil into the beautiful blue waters that surround it, the article explained.
What Are Divers Doing Now?
Resolve Salvage and Fire has led the Rena salvage operation, and professional salvage divers have played a vital role in the effort. Salvage divers are working at a depth of about 46 meters. They have most recently been helping to burn holes in the rigging and clear a pathway inside the ship so that massive industrial chains can be applied to the ship. These chains will essentially cut the house of the ship into two enormous parts, the article explained.
Once the ship is cut in two, the lift operation will begin, which will require hoisting the two ship sections onto a barge. Eventually, these two sections will be removed and taken to shore where they will be disassembled and hopefully used for scrap or recycled, the article noted.
How Much Will The Salvage Operation Cost?
The most recent cost estimate of the Rena salvage effort was $300 million, the article reported. Assessment reports detailing the Rena’s environmental, social and cultural impact is projected for completion by the end of the year.
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(Photo via www.NZHerald.co.nz / source: Bay of Plenty Times)
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