Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Rena has sunk

Rena has sunk at Astrolabe Reef this morning. Only visible part of the stern is the port bridge wing.

The eyewitness account is that she appeared to be slowly settling by the stern. Very quickly, No.7 hatch began to fill and she sank below the waves. Her position is described as listed to starboard with about a 30 metre stern trim. It's understood that the front part of the stern section is still awash. MNZ may have some overflight photographs soon.

This shot taken this morning at dawn, just before she sank.

Overflight photo from MNZ this morning, showing the water level in No.7 Hold

Photo from Stuff NZ of Astrolabe Reef this morning

Hi-res aerial photos from salvage consultants LOC and Maritime NZ here.

Debris field as the aft hold goes under - MNZ/LOC

Going under - Maritime NZ/LOC

And one final photo from MNZ's gallery

This wraps up the morning's news. Maritime NZ are updating their website regularly and there are some great hi-res shots from Astrolabe Reef being posted at their incident gallery

Farewell Rena, it's been a great ride while it lasted. More from Astrolabe Reef later. Some news and photos received from Brasil on 'Vale Beijing' to be posted.

TTFN, The Antipodean Mariner


  1. I'm a little surprised the salvors didn't get those emergency generators off before now - that's a good chunk of money that's now underwater and will take a bit of work to get useable again. Was there no piece of luck in wind shift that allowed any of the ships to get close to evacuate machinery? Or are those generators designed so they can be retrieved and reused after submersion?

    In retrospect, it would make sense for emergency generators to be sealed in case of a sudden blow to cause the ship they were on to go under.

    *salutes the M/V Rena* You lasted a long time, and fought well.

  2. Superb coverage of the ongoing saga AM.
    Well done.

  3. One other comment - what is in the life rafts that deployed? I see them in the last picture...or is that a part answer to my previous question about saving part of the salvor's equipment?

  4. The liferafts have self-deployed as they were designed to do. They are fitted with hydrostatic releases, which 'let go' when the water pressure gets to a certain depth. A rope lanyard with a weak point actuates the CO2 inflation bottle, the raft inflates, floats to the surface and if the ship keeps going down the lanyard breaks and raft floats free.

    The generators are stuffed - guess the hire company will making a withdrawl on Svitzer's credit card :-)

    MNZ reports GO Canapus is still connected to Rena's stern - might be a job for the gas axe.


  5. Hah! Yeah, I was wondering. Still, they may be salvageable, given extensive cleaning, but it may be more expedient to just make that withdrawal. Hee...

    As far as the GO Canapus...makes you wonder why they're still connected - of course, the sunken Rena won't go deep enough to drag the tug under, but I can only imagine a bit of annoyance...those tether lines aren't cheap either! That might be worth a diver going down and untying at the source...

    As for the liferafts, thanks for the explanation, I forgot about the automatic versions - makes sense. Although it truly makes me wonder how much more of the ship wasn't stripped out - like the computers in the bridge? Charts? You would think anything of value to the company would get pulled out of there. I know charts and documents got pulled because that's what the charges against the Captain and First Mate stem from...

  6. In your "Rena before the storm" post you mentioned the hatch covers being left off before the storm arrived... would that have been a deliberate decision to help finish her off?

  7. Love the coverage, keep up the good work. I hope ya mate on the GO Canapus has kept up his writing even though we cant read it at the moment,I will be buying the book :)
    One question, would the GO Canapus still have any load on its tow line? if so is that why the rena looked like the middle had "kicked" out but her stern was still inline with the forward section?

    I hope this is where she stays, mother nature is converting all our good dive wrecks back to sand quickly. Sand is not as cool to look at as a ship.

  8. I expect that every salvage diver in the know will be applying for this job. Clear water and the chance to view fantastic fish life whilst cutting up that wreck.

  9. Will try to answer as much as possible...

    'Deep Throat' is keeping a diary. The Insurers will pay for the ship but the AM guesses Svitzer will have to pay for the hired gear. The AM hopes the crew some of their personal gear off before she went under. The Salvors were having trouble fitting the hatch covers on Saturday with the different motion of the barge and ship. They all got washed off anyway in the storm, so probaly didn't contribute to the sinking. The sea always wins. The AM's money is on Rena becoming a dive site. Towing practice is to fit a short pennant wire in the tow so you don't have to cut the main tow wire.


  10. I would just like to thank the Antipodean Mariner for this Blog. It has kept me far better informed as to what has been happening with the Rena, than any other service.

    Unfortunately it is a sad day for us, as we had a 1961 Morris Minor on the Rena. It had been in the family for 50 years, and my sister asked me to remove it from Christchurch (where she lives) to Brisbane (where I live) for safety because of the earthquakes.

    Foolishly I agreed and the rest is history. The poor car would have been better off left in Christchurch.

    As the car was (I am told) in one of the aft holds, I suspect it is now a Marine version of the Morris range, probably to provide some interest to divers!

    I have to say I have been extremely disappointed with the lack of "results" by the NZ government in this matter. It seems to have been a disaster compounded by committee. I wonder if this had occurred in another part of the world (say the USA), would it have taken three months to get only a part of the cargo off, let alone salvage the ship.

    They seem keen on blaming everyone but themselves for inaction. Yet it seems from over here that there is equally inaction on any disaster in NZ, be it mines, earthquakes or shipwreck. One wonders what would happened if an oil tanker ran aground!

    Anyway, my pain, their problem now.

    Many thanks for the information.

  11. This is what I mentioned earlier, sad.
    Just wonder why that STOLT tankcontainer was left behind on purpose and seperately lashed.
    Fear some nasty stuff in there.
    Thanks for the updates AM.
    Theo de Boer, Netherlands

  12. The old girl put up a good fight, but the sea will always win. Thank you for your blog AM. I am a regular visitor here now.

  13. The stolt container was empty.
    It had been loaded on board the Rena as a diesel storage tank for the generators and compressors, but had not been filled.
    Thanks for the superb and knowledgeable coverage my friend.

  14. Thanks Proteun, makes sense.
    Good thing, only need a knife to get that one floating again.
    Theo de Boer.