Bad news for my home of Tauranga – Rena oil spill now begins to impact sea and wildlife
From China Daily https://twitter.com/#!/China_Daily and other sources
New Zealand shipping authorities have warned the public and other vessels to beware of debris and floating cargo containers coming from a Liberian-flagged cargo ship as itbreaks up on a North Island reef.
Maritime New Zealand said that four containers and “a considerable amount of debris”from the wreck of the Rena had already washed up on eastern coasts.
Another seven containers were within a mile of the shore and the container recovery company wasusing tug boats to tow them to safety.
A monitoring flight over the Rena, which is stuck on the Astrolabe Reef, 12 nautical miles offshore near the port of Tauranga, showed up to 40 containers in the water.
Sergeant Dave Litton, of Waihi Police, said the beach at the popular holiday resort of Waihi had been closed after it was covered in debris and loose cargo.
“This morning we have had four containers washed ashore and have several more a short distance off the coast that are likely to also come in as the day progresses,” said Litton in a statement.
“For that reason and because we don’t know the contents of the containers, we are urging members of the public to stay away from the beach,” he said.
“The expert advice we have received is for people not to approach items washed ashore for health reasons and we appeal to those people who have taken objects to return them to the beach wherethey can be managed by decontamination crews.”
The debris included timber, milk powder and plastic materials, according to MNZ.
MNZ national on-scene commander Alex van Wijngaarden said the breaking up of the ship would inevitably result in “a lot of mess and disturbance for the next few days.”
“We would like people to use commonsense and stay well away from the debris in some cases thiswill mean staying out of the water as well as away from material washed up on the beach,” said vanWijngaarden in a statement.
An exclusion zone of 3 nautical miles around the wreck remained in place to ensure the safety of shipping and to allow the salvage operations to continue unheeded, he said.
Trained oil spill response teams were prepared to respond to any reports of fresh oil on the beaches and two vessels were prepared for on-water oil recovery, although no significant oil spill had been seen so far, said van Wijngaarden.
Salvors were still trying to ascertain how many containers remained on the wreck, which broke into two distinct pieces during rough weather at the weekend.
MNZ salvage advisor Jon Walker said in the statement that internal flooding meant that the stern section would not float if it came off the reef. The bow section was still wedged firmly in its originalposition, but is suffering internal damage from wave action now that it was fully exposed to the sea.
Three oiled little blue penguins were taken to the oiled wildlife response center Monday, according to MNZ.
Two senior officers from the ship’s Filipino crew are facing charges in connection with the ship’s grounding on October 5 and in connection with the resulting pollution.
- Beach closed to looters as Rena cargo washes ashore (smh.com.au)
- Stricken New Zealand cargo ship breaks up (vancouversun.com)
- Stricken New Zealand cargo ship breaks up (calgaryherald.com)
- Debris from wrecked cargo ship washes onto New Zealand beaches (reuters.com)
- Little oil seen after ship splits in New Zealand (thehindu.com)
- NZ tackles wrecked container ship debris (news.smh.com.au)
- Oil spill disaster threatens New Zealand as stranded container ship splits in two (independent.co.uk)
- New Zealand beachgoers grab milk from wrecked ship (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- The Sea Claims M/V Rena, Stricken Containership Finally Splits in Two on New Zealand Reef [IMAGES] (gcaptain.com)