Additional Waikato Regional Council staff have travelled to the Bay of Plenty today and a further eight staff are on standby for urgent deployment to help with the Rena oil spill clean-up.
It brings the total number of regional council staff in the Bay of Plenty to seven, plus a contractor.
Six staff are involved in leading teams of 10 in conducting beach inspections and shoreline clean up operations, with the other two working in the Tauranga-based incident command centre.
Meanwhile, Waikato Regional Council this afternoon met with Thames-Coromandel District Council in Whangamata to plan for a possible clean-up operation on the region’s eastern seaboard.
The regional council has been closely monitoring the situation since last week’s grounding of the cargo ship, Rena, off Tauranga.
At this stage, there is no imminent threat to Waikato’s coastline. However, Maritime New Zealand aerial surveillance of the Rena oil spill is extending north of Tauranga to include Whangamata.
The regional council’s rapid response equipment, including absorbent booms, is on hand in Whangamata in case clean-up work is required on the Coromandel Peninsula’s eastern seaboard.
This afternoon a senior emergency management officer from the regional council has carried out an inspection of the Whangamata, Onemana and Whiritoa beaches. At this stage no oil has been detected.
Members of the public who see oil on beaches should not attempt to remove it but are urged to instead call freephone 0800 645 774. Shoreline oil clean up should be undertaken by experts trained in best practice and safe methods.
A public health warning has also been issued and people are reminded that no shellfish or fin fish should be eaten from waters with visible oil contamination.