Costamare, the Greek shipping company that owns the wrecked Rena, reassured New Zealanders it will continue to fund the salvage operation as it moves into a more difficult, costly phase now that the container ship has broken up.
The recovery and clean-up mission stepped up several notches in the recent days when the vessel, which has been grounded on a reef in the Bay of Plenty off the Port of Tauranga since Oct. 5, snapped in two in high swells over the weekend.
The stern section sank on Tuesday, taking with it 400 containers which will now need to be salvaged by teams of specialist saturation divers at a daily cost of $150,000.
Costamere issued a media release saying the company and its insurers will continue to fund the salvage operation, "including the recovery and processing of containers washed overboard." It said it is working with the salvors, insurers and Maritime New Zealand to formulate a plan dealing with both sections of the wreck.
"These plans are to be discussed with government authorities and other experts in the field, to ensure minimum damage to the environment and disruption to the lives of those living in the area," the statement read.
It clarified that the Mediterranean Shipping, which was chartering the Rena at the time, was "not a responsible party to this very unfortunate incident". Meanwhile, aerial flights show no change in the wreck's condition, or position in the past 12 hours.
Salvors are awaiting signs the stern section has firmly settled in the Astrolabe Reef before attempting to remove submerged containers. Under law, the wreck and its cargo must be removed from the site and will not be left to form a dive site, Environment Minister Nick Smith says.