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Grounded ship update

Grounded ship update



For immediate release: Tuesday 30 September 2008


Environment Bay of Plenty staff are continuing to monitor the San Cuvier – the ship grounded off Opotiki during severe weather in July 2008.

The San Cuvier was grounded on Sunday 27 July on a rocky stretch of coastline east of Opape and west of Torere.

Fuel was taken off the ship in August and Environment Bay of Plenty’s harbour master team was satisfied no oil had contaminated the coastline.

About 18,000 litres of liquids were successfully removed from the boat – approximately 11,000 litres was diesel fuel. All loose material has also been removed from the boat by its owners.

Environment Bay of Plenty Eastern Bay of Plenty harbour master Brian Spake was the Regional On Scene Commander for the oil spill response operation. He has checked the coastline near the grounded boat at regular intervals during the past eight weeks and has seen no signs of contamination to date.

Local residents took samples on board the San Cuvier in early September and showed them to Environment Bay of Plenty staff. Staff confirmed that hydrocarbons, or fuel, were present in the samples.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty harbour master then revisited the site and confirmed that the hull of the boat was intact.

Environment Bay of Plenty Group Manager Water Management Eddie Grogan thanked the community for bringing the samples to Environment Bay of Plenty.

“We are grateful the local residents brought their samples to our attention and alerted us to the presence of oil on board the vessel. However, there are no holes in the boat which means there is no way for the oil to escape from the boat into the environment,” Mr Grogan said.  “We have implemented measures onboard the ship to soak up any possible residual oil.”

Mr Grogan said the regional council was very conscious of the special nature of this part of the Bay of Plenty coastline.

“This stretch of coastline is special to many people living and working in the area. It has areas of significant conservation and cultural value with important resident wildlife and kaimoana gathering areas. We are therefore continuing to work with the boat’s owners and insurers on the salvage plan to make sure it does not have a negative impact on the environment,” said Mr Grogan.

Environment Bay of Plenty staff have listened to the local community’s concerns about the safety of the vessel. As a result two local people have been appointed as guardians of the vessel. Hazard warning signs are also due to be installed on the vessel and the San Cuvier has been locked up for safety reasons.

The harbour master team are continuing to work with the boat’s owners Sanfords, Maritime NZ and other organisations to ensure the boat doesn’t cause any future safety or environmental issues.

Environment Bay of Plenty is not responsible for the salvage operation. However, the regional council is continuing to work with the vessel’s owner and insurers to develop a salvage plan.

Environment Bay of Plenty has recommended the removal of the vessel.



For further media information contact Environment Bay of Plenty Group Manager

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