Rena vs Concordia – Oil recovery

Gareth Hughes from the Greens and the Labour party made a huge deal about the recovery operations for the MV Rena when it ran aground on Astrolabe Reef. They said that the government should ahve been pumping oil off the ship well before they actually started and that it could have all been done inside 4 days.

Compare the response that was provided by the Government adn the salvors of the MV Rena with the efforts of Italian authorities on the Costa Concordia salvage:

It’s been nearly a full month since the Costa Concordia ran aground just off the Tuscan island of Giglio, and after two weeks of delays salvage workers yesterday began pumping operations aimed at recovering most of the half million gallons of fuel aboard the badly listing Italian cruise liner. Roughly 84 percent of that fuel is stuck in 15 large tanks, and pumping that volume out of the ship will likely take another month–and that’s with the pumps running around the clock.

Pumping fuel from a capsized and largely unstable vessel the size of the Costa Concordia isn’t going to be a simple chore. First, valves must be fixed to the tops and bottoms of each of the tanks beforehand–much of this preparation has been underway for weeks–and hoses attached to each. Then, the fuel must be heated to reduce its viscosity and get it to flow easier. Fuel then goes out via the top valve, and seawater is piped in the bottom to fill the vacuum left by the exiting fuel.

That’s only half the battle. From there, salvage workers have to figure out how to deal with 500,000 gallons of potentially hazardous petroleum fuel.

I wonder of Gareth Hughes plus the other whingers who complained might like to actually apologise to the Government and to the salvors for the brilliant job they did do in difficult circumstances with the MV Rena.

Bear in mind MV Rena was 20km off shore whereas the Costa Concordia was at rest beside a harbour.

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  • Honcho

    ‘Government should have been pumping oil off the ship well before they actually started’? Gareth Hughes is in government, didnt see him sailing a recovery barge or airlifting workers onboard … did see him being a disaster tourist and taking scenic helicopter rides at the governments expense.

    Green voters were promised a lot more from the party, then the bull that so far has been delivered. I bet they feel like they have been made the fool.

  • ConwayCaptain

    Considering the CC had all the gear relatively on “their doorstep” and the stuff had to be flown onto NZ the effort here was v good.  The advantage was that the ship was still partially afloat and the vents could be reached.  Remember also that CC has had to put up with 2 weeks of BAD weather and the coldest winter in Europe for many a long year.  Also CC can only reach fuel on the port or upside of the vessel.  The stabd tank will be reached from u/water.

    WO maybe you would like to post that illustration of the salvage that I sent to you last week.

    • I’ll post that tomorrow as a separate post…

      • ConwayCaptain

        Cheers WO

    • Tom

      Gotta say, i check WOBH even more often now that we get these pearls from CC. Keep up the good work! 

      • ConwayCaptain


        I cant resist it sorry!!!!  Pearls before swine!!!!!!!

        I sent WO an illustration as to how Smit Tak will salvage the CC.  I hope he posts it on site it is quite amazing.

        One thing to remember with the CC is the number of openings in the hull.  Portholes, Windows, Doors, WT doors open in the hull, gashes etc etc any type of opening.  This salvage will be v difficult.

        What people dont realise is that the salvage experts, and I mean REAL experts, are now saying that the salvage industry will find it v hard to handle a salvage of these mega sized Pax vessels, Box boats, tankers and these 350,000 DWT bulkers carrying ore from Brazil to the PRC.

        Not only this but the expertise that has been lost by employin el cheepo crews from the Philipines, PRC etc and v small crews.

        If anyone remembers the Torrey Canyon and the Amoco Cadic grounding in theb western approaches of the Channel.  The Masters were on theb phone to Head Office, “What do I do now”.  A properly trained Master would have known what to do.

        Dont go aground with an anchor in the pipe, call in the tugs and dig out your Lloyds Open Form Salvage Agreement.  No Cure No Pay.

      • Tom

        By CC, I meant ConwayCaptain, just to clarify…

        I’m eagerly anticipating the salvage illustrations  :)

        Oh, a guest post from the boy MP on how he would approach the Cocordia situation would be great too, fat chance though.

  • Anonymous

    I understand that the authorities wanted to delay pumping until humanitarian rescue and recovery was complete. Disposal of the fuel oil would be no problem, it can just be re-used. Nothing was said about the Rena oils – presumably they sold it to an oil company for re-purification (if needed) and resale.

  • insider

    Rena will be seen as a text book response, in terms of the spped of assembling resources and personnel, once the politics has cleared.

  • MrV

    Salvaging ships like the Rena is so yesterday, Gareth the polymath that he is, has since moved on to creating a $6 billion/60 000 job renewables industry right here in NZ.

    Is there anything this man can’t do?

  • ConwayCaptain

    Lloyds Open Form Salvage Agreement should be in every Master’s safe.  I had taken command of my 1st ship and the Marine Superintendent came down and bought a letter in a Large envelope.

    Opened it and it was the new edition of the LOFSA.  My comment was “how to install confidence in a 1st trip Master”!!!

    A Master should have the knowledge etc as to when to use this.  Unfortunately in today’s age all these Asian Masters need guidance and instructions as to what to do.

    The LOFSA is used as it has been through the courts so many times everyone knows exactly what it means.  No Cure No Pay means you dont salvage the ship and get it in well you dont get paid.  Howvere in this day and age the salvors do get some payment.

    The experts are Svitzer and Smit Tak both Dutch though Svitzer is owned by Maersk.  Tsavliris which are Greek and then a few others.

  • ConwayCaptain

    I have it on good authority that 3 of the UK P&I Clubs, these are the shipowners mutual insurance for liability, REFUSE to cover PAX vessels as they consider the liability to be far too high.

    What would happen if one of theseb  behemoths with 5000 US Pax got into trouble near the US coast??  There would not be enough capacity in the insurance market to cover the claims.