Media release

Media release: Mechanical skimmers continue cleaning operation at Careys Bay

Friday 13 October 2023

Two mechanical skimmers have so far lifted more than 3300 litres of contaminated, oily water from around a sunken boat at Careys Bay, in Port Chalmers, north of Dunedin.

ORC Deputy Harbourmaster Pete Dryden expects further oily water to be skimmed off today, the third day of the operation, since the unattended, 18 metre, 60 tonne vessel sank at its wharf berth on Tuesday.

“The extent of the oily water is dependent on the tides, but we’re hoping this will be the last day we need to skim,” Mr Dryden says.

He reiterated that so far there had been no signs of damage to the environmental or any wildlife threatened by the spill.

“We’ll continue to monitor the area for the next few days and assess whether there’s been any impacts,” he says.

The mechanical skimmers were made available to ORC by Maritime New Zealand’s Pollution Response unit, with up to five ORC staff and some others operating the barge, skimming the slick and then storing the contaminated water ashore. The oily water will be treated and disposed of later.

ORC had practised pollution exercises with the skimmers in the past, but this was the first time they had been deployed at an incident.

“We’re really pleased with how the skimmers worked,” he says.

It is the responsibility of the boat owner to salvage the vessel and Mr Dryden understands the owner has been making a plan with a salvor to raise the boat.

ORC will monitor the salvage operation, Mr Dryden says.

oily water to be skimmed with two mechanical skimmers can be seen within the boomBefore . . .two mechanical skimmers can be seen within the boom. Photo: ORC


the oily water after being cleared away by mechanical skimmers
After . . . the oily water after being cleared away by mechanical skimmers. Photo: ORC