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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Waiting game

NZ Herald: A large crack in the starboard side had widened over past days but it was thought the ship's condition had not significantly deteriorated further.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce described the situation as a "real waiting game" that was as frustrating to salvors as anyone else.

Oil continued to wash up in small amounts in areas between Mt Maunganui and Papamoa yesterday, and defence force staff were responding to reports of gumboot-sized patties at Maketu. No containers fell overboard during the day, although debris from one was found at Te Kaha.

Down at Waiotahi beach yesterday there were no signs of oil, but oil at Maketu shows that even with any Westerly it will continue to make its way down the coast. The containers at East Cape show the Eastward drift will also likely take the spill across the whole Bay Of Plenty.

And the Transport Minister's analysis - he reckons its a waiting game. Just wait. Well that was the response from the very beginning - just wait - and look where that has got us. The question has to be asked, again, do they actually have a plan to contain a spill when the Rena (inevitably it seems with the cracks widening) breaks apart? Or is the plan to wait for it to wash up all over the coast and then attempt to clean it off the rocks and beaches?

It looks like the official response will be to try to clean up 100km or more of coast rather than laying a preventive kilometre or two of booms around the ship. The only thing thicker than the oil is the response plan.

It is the government ministers and officials who should be in the dock for negligence and recklessness, not just the Captain.

And oh the irony.

The same day the Captain of the Rena appears Elvis Teddy who is being prosecuted by the Crown for trying to save the Bay from the dangers of deep sea oil drilling by doing some fishing in front of the Petrobras survey ship is in the same court facing the same charges of reckless navigation. The NZ government are arseholes par excellence are they not?

As Hone says, give Elvis a gold medal. The NZ government - I believe it was at the instigation of the Tauranga Harbourmaster - called out the navy to menace the protest boat; and so what extraordinary response have they commissioned to deal with the Rena? Enforcing an exclusion zone to keep the media away and generally farting around. Hopeless.

Every drop, Mr Key, you are responsible for every drop of that oil.


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