Braemar Howells Assisting With Rena Salvage

Press Release – Braemar Howells

Environmental cleanup specialist Braemar Howells has been working for four weeks to assist with the salvage of the grounded 3,032teu containership MSC Rena.Braemar Howells Assisting With Rena Salvage
Environmental cleanup specialist Braemar Howells has been working for four weeks to assist with the salvage of the grounded 3,032teu containership MSC Rena.

Braemar Howells was appointed on 12th October by the vessel’s P&I Insurers, the Swedish Club. The company has been undertaking various duties in relation to the containers on the stricken vessel, which grounded on the Astrolabe reef off the Port of Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand last month.

Braemar Howell’s role includes:

    *  removal of containers, intact and otherwise, and cargo debris from the shore line

    *  capture and recovery of floating/drifting containers and/or floating cargo debris

    *  sub-surface search for sunken containers and once identified, their recovery to the surface and ashore (where safe and possible to do so)

    *  decontamination of oiled containers and disposal of any perished cargo.

These tasks recognise the company’s significant expertise gained from its involvement in incidents such as Sea Empress 1996, Ever Decent 2002, MSC Napoli 2007; New Flame 2007 and Fedra 2008.

Various operational and contingency plans detailing the identification, recovery and transportation of containers and cargo debris to a specially prepared process site in Tauranga, were prepared by Braemar Howells and submitted to Maritime New Zealand (MNZ). These plans are now in operation, following MNZ’S oversight of the plans.

Responding to fears that adverse weather conditions could cause the release of more containers into the water, as a contingency Braemar has mobilised tugs, barges, landing craft, large cranes and fast response support vessels – together with aerial surveillance reconnaissance planes, helicopter and underwater side scan radar to reduce the risk of containers or their cargo being washed ashore.

Neil Lloyd, Braemar’s Operations Manager in Tauranga, says: “Container recovery has gone very well with 85 containers recovered from the RENA to date but the weather is the governing factor, and all of us are hoping that it will remain calm, thereby allowing the salvors every chance to continue in their hazardous and difficult task to lift the remaining 1,195 containers from the severely listing vessel.”

Braemar Howells staff were mobilised at the early stages of the incident and have for the past four weeks been working closely with MNZ, the Salvors, Svitzer, and local iwi to ensure the safety of people involved, to minimise any environmental impact the incident could cause and to preserve community assets. They have been complemented by personnel from other divisions within Braemar Shipping Services Plc – illustrating the level of global expertise available throughout the Braemar group of companies.

Braemar has taken advice from Maori elders to get a more complete understanding of sensitive areas and traditions of local iwi. The company is working with iwi representatives to respect their traditions while undertaking the necessary work to clear grounded containers and debris washed ashore. The recovery of shoreline debris and container wreckage has progressed well over the last few weeks and the operations conducted on Motiti Island have resulted in the removal of approximately 60 tons of product. Container recovery efforts have also been successful with a total of 65 containers being recovered to the port.

“The support and assistance we’re receiving from Maritime New Zealand, the local authority, local businesses, iwi and others in the local community is immense,” says Neil Lloyd. “As always we remain committed to working safely and effectively with others to protect their environment and minimise the impact on coastal communities.”


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