Investigation: Rena Crew Were Fatigued
Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has concluded that it is likely that the master and second mate were at risk of at least mild fatigue impairment prior to the grounding of the container ship Rena in 2011.
During the vessel’s voyage, a number of changes were made to the passage plan to reduce its voyage time between Napier and Tauranga in New Zealand. Analysis of sleep and work data indicates that the master had fragmented sleep and the second mate had not adapted to the night watch schedule enough to overcome time-of-day effects.
The grounding of Rena on Astrolabe Reef is considered to be New Zealand’s worst maritime environmental disaster with oil, containers and debris affecting the Bay of Plenty. The bow of the vessel has been stuck on the reef, but the larger stern section broke off and sank into deeper water. The ship’s stern currently lying at a depth of more than 50m.
The New Zealand government has indicated that the wreck might be only partially removed from the reef. Removal may just include the bow and associated debris to a depth of 30m due to the safety risks and costs involved in total wreck removal. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is currently considering the owners and insurers request to leave the larger section of the wreck in deep water after cleaning up the debris field.