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Big container ship runs aground in NZ

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posted on Oct, 4 2011 @ 05:42 PM

A cargo ship has run aground off the coast of Tauranga after hitting a reef.

The 236-metre Rena, with 25 crew on board, struck Astrolabe Reef around 2.20am on Wednesday with the vessel reportedly on a 12 degree list and two of its cargo holds flooded.

posted on Oct, 9 2011 @ 06:18 PM

LATEST: Oil from the stricken cargo ship Rena is washing ashore at Mt Maunganui, one of the country's most popular beaches.
Oil washes up on Mt Maunganui beach

I used to live on the beach at Mount Maunganui, so seeing oil washing up on the beach there saddens me. There is a lot of wildlife in the area, so they will no doubt be affected. The original reports stated that it was only hydraulic oil that was leaking, but I believe there is now heavy fuel oil leaking from a ruptured tank onboard.

Crews are this morning due to resume pumping oil off the Rena, in an attempt to beat forecast bad weather.

Crews had been pumping oil from the ship to the tanker vessel Awanuia, as well as transferring fuel from the damaged tank into stable tanks further back in the ship ready to be offloaded, but had to stop work early this morning due to weather conditions.

It is understood 10 tonnes had been removed from the ship so far. There was 1700 tonnes of fuel on the ship.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) salvage coordinator Bruce Anderson said about 100 tonnes of oil had leaked from the Rena's breached tank, but oil response teams estimated there was only about 10 tonnes in the sea so far.

It appears this disaster has the potential to get a lot worse, although I hope it doesn't. The weather is forecast to deteriorate, with strong Northeast winds blowing straight towards the shore from the ship, and a building swell. I expect we will see a fair bit more oil washing ashore in the next few days.

There has been talk of using the dispersant Corexit, although I don't think it will be used extensively as it doesn't work well on the relatively thin oil slick flowing from the Rena. I'm not sure how I feel about the use of a dispersant, but I hope it doesn't further harm the environment. Mount Maunganui is a popular destination for fisherman, beachgoers and surfers, so I sincerely hope this mess gets sorted out soon.


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