Containers have been removed from the sunken stern of the Rena for the first since the ship snapped, after a weekend in which containers were recovered from several parts of the vessel.
Salvors have expanded their container recovery operation, retrieving cargo from the bow as well as the stern section.
The Smit Borneo crane barge was secured to the port quarter of the Rena by wire ropes and positioned to work the stern's holds and the sea floor in the immediate vicinity.
Divers assisted in the removal of eight containers from the rear section of the wreck. All eight containers were reported to be fully laden. On the bow, container Bay 12 saw the top and side of one wood container removed while the remains of another wood container and its contents were also removed.
The first, formerly, refrigerated container contents were also removed from Bay 12. And the remains of a container were removed from Bay 16.
Work on cutting and grinding containers continues, with assistance from helicopters to remove debris.
To date, Braemar Howells have received 491 containers from Rena, and recovered another 70 from the sea and beaches.
A further 17 have been located, but not yet recovered. This brings the total either recovered or located to 578.
About 250 containers are estimated to be below decks in the forward section of the wreck. However, because of the significant damage to the vessel and to the remaining containers, it is impossible to gain an accurate count of how many remain on board the aft section or elsewhere.
During the weekend, Braemar Howells received eight more containers for processing from the flooded hulls of Rena.
The containers' cargo included home brew kits, milk powder and paper pulp. This cargo will be processed this week at Braemar's plant in Truman Lane.
This week, Braemar received one lot of refrigerated contents. This formerly refrigerated container was carrying packaged fish, which was sent straight to the landfill.
Other operations during the weekend included the removal of the end of a container that had been bedded in the sand at Bowentown. It was towed to Anzac Bay where it awaits removal.
Shoreline clean-up assessment teams continue to monitor all beaches between Matakana and Maketu. Detailed surveys were undertaken during the weekend at the Mount and Maketu and have identified the amount of remaining work. Teams continue working at Mount Maunganui and Leisure Island where oil trapped in gullies is proving slow to recover.