PHOTO CAPTION: 006 – Air Force Iroquois helicopter winches a salvage expert on to RENA.
13 October 2011
Over 370 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are continuing to support Maritime NZ, other Government agencies and the people of Tauranga with ships, aircraft and clean-up teams currently deployed to the area.
Soldiers from Army units around the North Island, armed with shovels and rakes, were on the beach at Papamoa yesterday working alongside Maritime NZ personnel and civilian volunteers on the clean-up effort, collecting a total of 143 tonnes of debris from the beach.
150 soldiers have joined the clean-up operation again today. The task on the beach requires patience and commitment, working in protective equipment to gather the oil into bags for collection. “It’s a job that needs to done and we’re glad we can help,” says Private Clayton Mills, 3 Auckland North Regiment. More than 70 soldiers are providing transport and catering support to the Army clean-up teams.
ENDEAVOUR, MANAWANUI, ROTOITI and TAUPO remain assigned to the operation with PUKAKI shortly to replace TAUPO. Tasking include providing imagery and information to Maritime NZ on MV RENA’s condition, as well as standby for maritime exclusion zone patrol as required.
Seasprite and Iroquois helicopters continue to support Maritime NZ with aerial observation flights and transport of salvage experts to and from MV RENA weather permitting. The helicopters are also assisting conservation personnel with their work, including airlifting cleaning equipment to Motiti Island today. A P3K Orion was tasked yesterday to provide further aerial observation.
A number of Defence personnel continue to assist Maritime NZ with planning and liaison.
“We have deployed a large number of people to Tauranga to assist Maritime NZ and that resource has been well used in a range of roles - from the Navy patrolling the exclusion zone and moving specialist people to and from the RENA; to Air Force and Navy helicopters providing support for reconnaissance and moving essential supplies; to soldiers helping clean-up the oil arriving on the shore.
“The strength of the Defence Force is in its planning ability and the body of skilled and disciplined people who are ready to act when required,” says Defence Force Joint Task Force Commander, CAPT Trumper.
NZ Defence Force elements are also providing humanitarian aid to our Pacific neighbours in Tuvalu, in addition to supporting Rugby World Cup 2011 and continuing to meet our other global commitments with over 680 personnel currently deployed on operational missions and exercises around the world.
For further information, contact Paul Stein, Defence Communications on 021 409 033 or Kirsty Taylor-Doig on 021 806 926.