The Government has launched a 12-month Rena recovery plan that will cost up to $3 million.
After the "tumultuous months" the region has experienced battling Rena's impact on the environment, the next step in the Bay of Plenty's recovery plan was yesterday announced.
Environment Minister Nick Smith fronted at Tauranga's Waikari Marae in Matapihi to set out the Government's new Environmental Recovery Plan.
The plan, as Dr Smith explained, was about making sure all the relevant agencies working on the clean-up knew their roles.
"The plan identifies the environmental issues for the beaches, seabed, water, fisheries, wildlife and management of waste and sets out who is responsible for the recovery and monitoring of each. A governance group has been established to oversee the implementation of the plan and to make sure everything possible can be done to restore the environment," he said.
The plan puts to paper what has been in action since the Rena ran aground, making official which agencies are responsible for particular facets of the clean-up. In essence, the Environmental Recovery Plan records the roles of the agencies involved - Maritime New Zealand, central Government, MAF and fisheries, Department of Conservation, local councils, and the Massey University wildlife recovery teams - and estimates how long the relevant tasks will take.
"The challenge of trying to pull together all those different components is what this plan is all about. It's about co-ordinating it all together, it's about setting out who does what ... ensuring there's a plan between agencies," Dr Smith said. The plan is drafted for 12 months at a "crudely" estimated cost of $2 million-$3 million, with a review scheduled for September to see if the plan should be extended.
Dr Smith said so far the Rena clean-up had cost the Government about $20 million. He stressed that the Government was doing everything possible to recoup those costs from the shipping companies responsible for the Rena and its crew.
"There are very sensitive discussions between the Government and the ship owners and insurers. It's the Government's intention that the full cost will be met by those responsible," he said.
Dr Smith said the aim was to get the Bay of Plenty back to its pre-Rena beauty, and praised the work of locals for setting that goal in motion.
Meanwhile, salvors removed one container of paper products on Wednesday, with weather forecast to deteriorate with winds rising to 20 knots and swells increasing from 1-2m around the wreck. The rough weather is forecast to remain today but settle on Saturday. Salvors yesterday worked on installing sliding beams on the Rena bow section to allow salvors to move containers overboard, where they can then be reached and recovered by the Smit Borneo.
The Braemar Howells recovery team successfully unloaded the dangerous goods containers that had removed from the bow section. The containers held empty hydrogen peroxide tanks. Plans are set to remove 25 one-tonne bags of rubbish, including timber and plastic, from Motiti Island next week in a helilift. Elsewhere, divers are using specialised equipment to cut up two containers, which are partly submerged in the Bowentown area.
An observation flight yesterday confirmed a light silver and rainbow sheen was stretching south from the wreck for about 4km. But oil responders were on yesterday stationed at Leisure Island and Mauao, Tuapiro and Kauri Point, on the East Coast and on Matakana Island.