Rena debris reaches Mercury Bay

1:50 pm on 7 April 2012

More debris from the Rena has washed ashore on the Coromandel coast, with the focus of the clean-up shifting to beaches in Mercury Bay near Whitianga.

Strong winds and waves of at least seven metres have been battering the wreck which grounded on Astrolabe Reef, off Tauranga, on 5 October last year.


The heavy swells have pushed the stern section completely under water with more containers breaking free.

The Waikato Regional Council says most of the debris that washed up overnight on Friday has been found in Matapaua Bay at the northern end of Mercury Bay.

A spokesperson says that further south, at Hot Water Beach and Sailors Grave, almost 30 large sacks of sodden packets of noodles, plastic beads, and milk powder have been collected.

He says there are trailer loads of debris on beaches at Matapaua Bay and a maritime warning remains in place for boaties to steer clear of floating debris.

A spokesperson for the recovery company Braemar Howells says teams are also removing timber from Matakana Island.

Efforts to recover the ten latest containers to slide off the Rena into the sea will begin next week.

All are submerged or sunk though one has been located near Mayor Island.

Braemar Howells is due to bring barges closer to shore next week, when the sea is expected to be calmer, to try to reach rocky outcrops too dangerous to clean up in heavy swells.

Meanwhile, Maritime New Zealand has charged the Daina Shipping company of Greece, which owns the Rena with discharging harmful substances into a coastal marine area.