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Published: 2002-02-11 00:00:00

Environment Waikato oil spill response staff were put on high alert this weekend as backup for Gisborne clean up teams working on the stranded log carrier.

A team of about 10 trained response staff are on standby to relieve those working on the spill from the Jody F Millennium, which has been stranded close to shore since Waitangi Day and is leaking oil into the harbour.

Oil has now been transferred from the ship’s bottom tanks to those above the water line, which are undamaged. The navy will be using inflatable barges to transfer some oil to the navy ship Endeavour in an attempt to lessen the potential environmental damage from oil which has already spread to shore.

However a southerly change expected later this week is likely to hamper rescue efforts and it is unlikely to be re-floated before Wednesday. Although oil has now stopped flowing from the vessel, there is still a risk of damage as logs are lifted and the oil pumped out.