Tauranga's harbour master has lifted a caution to boaties to stay off the water after the Rena split in two but is warning them to keep a good lookout for debris.
The caution was issued after containers and debris were dumped into the sea when Rena broke up on January 7. The three-nautical mile boating exclusion zone around the Astrolabe Reef will remain until further notice.
Calm waters around the wreck have allowed salvors to resume the arduous task of removing containers from the bow section.
Yesterday was the first time since the ship broke apart that sea conditions had allowed container removal on to the barge, Smit Borneo, to restart.
The weather at the wreck has been calm, with winds of 15-20 knots expected over the next few days.
Maritime New Zealand salvage unit manager Kenny Crawford said the removal of those containers was now the priority.
"The helicopter removal of milk powder emptied from a container this week has been suspended, as the crane barge and helicopter cannot operate in the same area at the same time," he said.
Before Rena broke apart, 397 containers had been removed from it.
Container-recovery company Braemar Howells' marine and distressed cargo specialist, Richard van der Spoel, said while about 500 containers were now classified as "unlocated", some may still be on board the bow.
It had not been possible to establish how many were still on board, because it was still too hazardous to dive into areas of the bow and stern to identify the containers, Mr van der Spoel said.
Many of the containers on the seabed were likely to be close to the wreck but establishing exact numbers was not yet possible, with salvors working in the area.
Mr van der Spoel said sonar searches of the seabed were being carried out in other areas, with three damaged containers, believed to be about 12m in length, located north of Motiti Island yesterday.
Braemar was not aware of any containers still afloat.
Clean-up efforts yesterday focused on the Bowentown shoreline and Eastern Bay of Plenty.
Six rubbish skips were sent to Waihou Bay for debris collection, while a barge and fast-response boat were engaged in debris collection at Whale and White islands and mainland coastlines in the area.
Seven little blue penguins and two grey-faced petrels, oiled in the past fortnight, were released yesterday after being treated at Massey University in Palmerston North.
National on-scene commander Mike Courtnell said the birds were released at Mount Maunganui or at sea, depending on where they had been found.
Four oiled penguins were taken to Massey during the week.
Several hundred dead birds have been found in recent weeks, particularly since the Rena broke in two.
Most dead birds are juvenile and unoiled, indicating that they died from natural causes, which is common early in the breeding season.
"The fact is that a lot of dead birds are being found simply because we are looking for dead birds," said Mr Courtnell.
Post-mortem examinations will be conducted on some of the non-oiled birds to find if they died from ingesting debris.
Oil clean-ups continued yesterday at Matakana Island, Mount Maunganui and Leisure Island.
A team monitoring the southern side of Motiti Island in recent days had found no sign of oil.
A meeting was held between Maritime New Zealand and locals yesterday to discuss methods of operating on the northern foreshore of the island.