oil spill

These guys are tough

Contrary to the claims of Labour and the Greens there have been salvors about the MV Rena since very early on. Today in the Herald we get to hear just how precarious and dangerous their jobs are:

Far down in the engine-room, below five flights of bent ladders, the floor slopes sideways and is covered with oily muck.

It is pitch black except for the odd generator-powered light, just a faint glow amid the gloom.

The smell – a putrid mix of salty air, heavy fuel fumes and thawed, rotting food spilled from busted containers – is almost overpowering.

And the noise is terrifying.

The sounds of howling wind and crashing waves combine with a cacophony of creaks, bangs and groans of steel grinding on steel.

These of the death throes of the MV Rena, one of the most perilous wrecks that a world-renowned team of salvage experts have seen in their careers.

The severed hull grinds against itself as waves wash back and forth through slowly widening gashes in steel 18mm thick.

Pancaked rows of containers – many 12m long – tower high above, always threatening to crash down.

The salvors must keep their balance on a sideways, ever-swaying deck soaked in slippery oil and water.

Every few moments, another swell slams the hull, rocking it again.

Weighing heavily upon the salvors’ shoulders is the hope they will be able to pump away all of the oil still in the Rena’s tanks before the ship breaks up.

But first they must empty one port-side tank – and then try to get to the 356 tonnes in the tank on the other side.

With a five-day window of fine weather and a booster pump that managed to clear 171 tonnes by yesterday afternoon, there is optimism, but the job is dangerous.

“Everywhere, there’s risk at the moment,” said Svitzer Salvage master captain Drew Shannon, speaking exclusively to the Weekend Herald.

When finger pointing backfires

One of the problems with finger pointing is that there are three fingers pointing right back at you, your own.

The Greens especially but also Labour, in particular Trevor Mallard have been pointing fingers trying to lay the blame for the MV Rena on the door step of the government. They have been very vocal about the oil spill, pretending to be experts at marine salvage and in the case of Phil Goff pretending to know how to use a shovel.

Eventually the facts come out though. So, I wonder how they are going to spin this little piece of news.

A decade ago, the Oil Pollution Fund contained about $12 million but now totals only $4m after a decision was made by then transport minister Mark Gosche to draw the account down. The purpose of the fund is to have sufficient cash rapidly available in case of an oil spill and all ships over 24m long or weighing more than 100 tonnes must contribute. What they pay is decided by the gross tonnage of the ship and not their “threat” level – an issue currently subject to review.

Labour has gone on about how shameful it is that the taxpayers will be paying for the spill. I wonder what their alternative is, not clean it up and say we shouldn’t have to pay. Or do what the government is doing, cleaning it up and then using the full forces and resources of the state to pursue and hold to account those responsible.

Meanwhile if Labour could explain the decision they made to draw the account down.

STFU Gareth Hughes

Gareth Hughes is now actually wasting resources instead of helping with his incessant tweeting regarding MV Rena. Earlier today he tweeted:

Just heard the #rena has split. Unconfirmed at this point. Bad news. Hope nobody has been injured.
Gareth Hughes

It immediately caused a flurry from members of the media  but was in fact a complete fabrication which subsequently got re-tweeted by a whole bunch of people including some who should know better.

Maritime NZ has then had to divert resources in order to issue a press release advising the hoax nature of Gareth Hughes tweet:

Reports by some media that the Rena is breaking up are incorrect. Salvage experts advise that while the Rena is cracked port and starboard, it remains together in one piece and is in the same position as it has been for the past week.

MNZ Salvage Unit Manager Andrew Berry (who today replaces Bruce Anderson as part of a shift rotation) says oil pumping operations are progressing. A booster pump is now in place, which is hoped to begin operation soon.

“All going well, this will increase our pumping capacity, and we will be continuing to pump oil for as long as we possibly can today. However, the operation is still very much dependent upon a number of factors, such as weather, equipment, vessel stability and other considerations, which will have an impact upon how well this process goes.

“The key point is that every drop of oil that we can get off the ship is one less drop that can potentially end up in the environment, but it will be a long, slow and steady process.”

When is a moratorium not a moratorium?

When Phil Goff says it is…or isn’t.

Phil Goff is not calling for a moratorium on oil drilling http://t.co/4BVK6wtH Just something like a moratorium.
Glenn Williams

Phil Goff flips, flops and flaps all around the issue.

And here is the video of the interview. Good grief Phil Goff is such a hapless, goober.


Why does Phil Goff lie?

Phil Goff has been caught telling lies so many times you now know that when he opens his mouth what ever he says will be a mis-truth.

Yesterday was no different as his shameless politicking over the MV Rena and silly photo opportunities and disaster tourism became the news.

When asked about why he went down tot he beach in contravention of official advice his reply was that he was asked to by people on the beach.

Goff lies to Newstalkzb by whaleoil

This was in stark contrast to an eyewitness account of what actually went on. Plus there is the photo of Goff in his shiny suit and equally shiny shoes. Not the attire of someone going to assist as he says.

I really do wonder why politicians in general and Phil Goff in particular always seem to default to a lie when the truth would do?

When Phil Goff was confronted with his lies over the SIS briefing he said he didn’t have but actually did have he chose to dig the hole even deeper. What he should have done then is simply say he forgot and it would have killed the story. He didn’t and history now shows that he was briefed, that he used a tragedy to politicise the event and it backfired.

Likewise with the Rena photo opportunity. He should ahve simply said “Of course it was a photo shoot, that’s what politicians do”. The story would ahve died but now he is on record as saying that people asked him to help and so he did. We know that this wasn’t the case and so now the story becomes Goff’s lies.

Silly, silly man.


Disaster Tourist, Ctd

Phil Goff likes to have pictures taken of him with shovels.

This is the one from this morning which we now know was staged:

And then this one from Christchurch which is presumably staged as well:

And then this one from Christchurch as well where he is standing next to a shovel which is in the hands of an expert:

Disaster Tourist

Yesterday Phil Goff went to Tauranga to share his world class expertise with sinking ships.

Trevor Mallard went large on the issue last night posting screenshots of Phil Goff’s Facebook page and John Key’s Facebook page with the clear inference that Phil Goff cares and John Key doesn’t.

Then we had this photo appearing on Stuff of the caring Phil Goff in his shiny shoes and suit using a shovel.

A caller to Leighton Smith’s show this morning though puts this all into perspective:

Goff caught staging a photo op by whaleoil

Goff was ditched by the Otago Chamber of Commerce because they couldn’t sell any tickets and so he legs it to Tauranga to stage a photo-op.

Phil Goff the disaster tourist milking tragedy and playing politics.


Some perspective on RENA

There has been all manner of scare mongering about the oil spill of the MV RENA. It must be remembered though that this is a container ship not an oil tanker and so the amount of oil spilled is actually tiny compared could what could have been. While still bad it is nowhere near the catastrophe that politicians who should know better are desperately trying to make it out to be.

Maui Street posted an Infographic that tries to show the scale of the problem of RENA. Unfortunately it doesn’t. I have added on some perspective. The Greens and Labour can’t complain about that perspective because they decided to conflate MV RENA with deep-water drilling and so it bears some comparison.

For ease of use I have used the typical size of current NZ coastal tankers for measurement and the the recent Deepwater Horizon event in the US that Gareth Hughes is so exercised about.

Deepwater Horizon spilled the equivalent of 21 tankers of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, in contrast the oil spill of MV RENA will only be 5% of just one tanker.

A Whale of a ship

If the Federal authorities in the US would get off their arse there is a ship available that could help skim up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Fittingly it is called the “A Whale” and it is a massive ship 340m long and 60m wide with a draught of 11.3m.

The "A Whale" Oil SkimmerA massive, newly-retooled supertanker that its owner claims could skim millions of gallons of oily water a day is now in the Gulf of Mexico, where government and BP officials intend to run tests shortly to see if it actually works.

With residents of four states complaining about the dearth of skimming vessels off their shores, the 10-story tall, 372-yard long Taiwanese-owned behemoth — called A Whale — could be an enormous boon to the region.

Or it could be a really, really big disappointment.

Nobu Su, the CEO and founder of Taiwan Maritime Transport (TMT), told reporters in Norfolk on Friday that on account of the special holes he had cut in its sides, his vessel would roll across the Gulf “like a lawn mower cutting the grass.”

Though the ship and the process are entirely untested, Su insisted A Whale could ingest and process some 15 million gallons of oily water a day. By comparison, the entire emergency response since BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20 has collected 28 million gallons of oily water.