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Are we prepared for another Rena?

9 November 2012

Are we prepared for another Rena?

How New Zealand would handle another oil disaster like the Rena is the topic of discussion at the University of Waikato later this month.

Chair of Coastal Science Professor Chris Battershill will be holding a public lecture called The Rena, and Offshore Oil Exploration: Impacts and Preparedness.

His lecture will explore the environmental impact of the Rena oil spill and how it may have influenced how New Zealand will respond to major pollution events in the future.

Professor Battershill has been closely monitoring the environmental recovery of the Bay of Plenty following the grounding. This work builds on a significant amount of recent research examining the environmental effects of oil and gas industry development as well as ship groundings in Australia.

When the Rena crashed into the Astrolabe Reef in October last year the subsequent oil contamination of the Bay of Plenty sent shock waves through New Zealand.

During his lecture, Professor Battershill will look at oil spill event preparedness in New Zealand and compare the Rena grounding to Australian responses to oil spills as a case study for how well prepared New Zealand is for another disaster.

“What does New Zealand’s score card look like now after the Rena incident? How can we set ourselves up for an environmentally secure future which will involve heightened shipping traffic and the development of offshore oil and gas industry?” says Professor Battershill.

To address this, the lecture will examine oil and gas industry environmental programs that were instigated prior to development taking place with case studies from New Zealand and Australia.

The lecture takes place on Tuesday 27 November, at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, beginning at 1pm. It is free and open to the public.

It’s being held as part of the Geosciences 2012 conference being hosted by the Department of Earth and Ocean Science at University of Waikato from Sunday 25 – 28 November.


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