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Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Harbourmaster has issued navigational safety warnings for the Bay of Plenty following the release of containers and debris from MV Rena today.
The debris is currently to the west of the Rena and heading in a West South West direction, but changing tides and the stormy weather conditions may affect its direction, and vessel operators are urged to keep a good look-out.
An exclusion zone of two nautical miles around Rena remains in force.
Vessel operators are reminded that additional temporary exclusion zones require them to stay at least 200 metres clear of any beached or floating containers from the Rena, as well as any salvage vessel working on the response.
The exclusion zones ensure that response operations can continue safely, without hindrance from other vessels. They are also intended to keep vessels away from areas that are known to contain navigational safety hazards such as containers and debris from the Rena.
The exclusion zone is regularly reviewed in conjunction with the Maritime New Zealand, who lead the response operations.
Anyone found in the exclusion zone without the express permission of the Harbourmaster may be prosecuted.
Vessel operators are also reminded to take extra care around any anchored containers and the three anchoring sites, used for corralling containers in the water. These areas may contain unlit buoys, ropes, chains and anchors, so people should keep well clear. These sites are east of Rabbit Island (Motuotau Island), off the western side of Mōtītī Island and off the coast of Pāpāmoa Beach.
People are advised to check the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website (www.boprc.govt.nz) or contact local marine radio operators to find out the latest information.
Please notify Maritime New Zealand on 0800 645 774 to report oil. To report containers and debris, please call 0800 333 771.