Rena's Inventory Request | The Jackal

14 Oct 2011

Rena's Inventory Request

On Wednesday 12 October, I sent an email to Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) formally requesting under the Official Information Act 1982 a copy of the MV Rena's inventory. I made my request because of the differing stories authorities had been telling us about what Rena is carrying.

Click image to enlarge
Yesterday I received a reply from the MNZ Legal Executive Mei Chan. She said my request required “substantial research and collation,” and that "a decision will be reached no later than the 8th of November," some seventeen working days away.

The claim by Mei Chan that the information needed to be collated is not true. The fact that the information requested is available was confirmed on 3 News last night.

Reporter Jendy Harper interviewed the New Zealand General Manager for the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Phil Abraham. Here is the relevant part of their conversation:
Jendy Harper: You’re assisting Maritime New Zealand, are you being open about what is on the ship?

Phil Abraham: "Totally! Yeah! Since the incident occurred we’ve made er, we’ve met with Maritime New Zealand in Tauranga, I went personally and we’ve provided all the information about the cargos um, to Maritime New Zealand," he said.
In this particular instance, I'm not satisfied that there needs to be an extensive delay. People have a right to know what the MV Rena is actually carrying, especially in light of 88 of the 1,386 containers falling overboard.

One of these containers in the water is confirmed by MNZ to be carrying Ferrosilcon, another three with the same substance are reportedly still on board the stricken vessel.

MNZ has now confirmed that a total of eleven shipping containers are carrying hazardous materials. However they dismissed rumours that yellowcake uranium was among them.  

Mihingarangi Forbes reported that four containers carry hydrogen peroxide, one has Potassium Nitrate, one has Alkylsulphonic Liquid* and another has Trichloroisocyanuric acid. The MNZ have not released the quantities. Forbes reported that they said the primary risk assessment is low?
However MNZ don't seem to realise that Alkylsulphonic Liquid is: CORROSIVE TO METALS, Category 1 ACUTE TOXICITY - ORAL, Category 4 ACUTE TOXICITY - SKIN/DERMAL, Category 3 SKIN CORROSION/IRRITATION, Category 1A SERIOUS EYE DAMAGE/IRRITATION, Category 1 SPECIFIC TARGET ORGAN SYSTEMIC TOXICITY (SINGLE EXPOSURE), Category 3 Respiratory tract irritation AQUATIC TOXICITY (ACUTE), Category 2 (PDF).


  • ELIMINATE all ignition sources (no smoking, flares, sparks or flames in immediate area).
  • Do not touch damaged containers or spilled material unless wearing appropriate protective clothing.
  • Stop leak if you can do it without risk.
  • Prevent entry into waterways, sewers, basements or confined areas.
  • Absorb or cover with dry earth, sand or other non-combustible material and transfer to containers.
I'm unsure of the reaction Alkylsulphonic has in contact with water. What I am sure of though is that Maritime New Zealand is obliged under the Official Information Act, to make the documents requested available as soon as is practicable.