Waikato Regional Council is continuing preparations for the possibility that oil may come ashore on the Coromandel coast in the wake of the Rena grounding.
Council representatives will be attending a meeting organized by Hauraki Maori Trust Board in Whangamata tonight to discuss the threat to the Coromandel and the role of iwi in responding to it.
A local communications network has been activated on the peninsula to report to the regional council any oil coming up on the coastline. Information would be passed on to Maritime New Zealand which would coordinate any Coromandel clean-up with assistance from the regional council, Thames Coromandel District Council and other parties.
The regional council already has eight staff and a contractor helping in the Bay of Plenty, while about another 20 staff are on standby to help as requested. Extra staff could be called in for clean-up duties if oil hits the Coromandel coast.
Also, rapid response equipment, including absorbent booms, is on hand at Whangamata in case clean-up work is required.
It is still the council’s advice that based on wind and current information there is no imminent threat to the Waikato coastline to the north of the grounding.
However, given the fact that oil has been detected as far north as Waihi Beach, regional council staff are continuing to monitor the situation very closely in case circumstances change and will provide advice as necessary to Waikato people.
If oil does come north to the Waikato, people are advised not to try to clean it up themselves but to ring the clean up line 0800 645 774. Anyone spotting oiled wildlife should call 0800 333 771.
Waikato people should not collect and consume seafood (including shellfish and fin fish) from waters with visible oil contamination. Also, any seafood that has off or petrol like odours should be avoided.