Stricken boxship causes worst environmental disaster in New Zealand 12 October 2011

Article from International Frieghting Weekly giving an overview of the incident.

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Stricken boxship causes worst environmental disaster in New Zealand

Hundreds of tonnes of fuel oil is killing wildlife and polluting beaches

 

The oil spill from a containership that ran aground in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty is now said to be the nation’s worst ever environmental disaster.

Up to 300 tonnes of heavy fuel oil has leaked into the bay since the Liberian-flagged Rena ran aground on a reef a week ago.

The captain of the Rena, A 44-year-old Filipino national, has been charged for his part in the accident.

The authorities say the ship appears to be settling on the reef and there are concerns that containers could fall off or the ship could break apart.

The ship still contains more than 1,400 tonnes of fuel which is threatening wildlife and the local environment.

The rough weather is hampering the clean-up, but it also helps the oil disperse naturally in the water. But on land it’s a different matter, with clumps of toxic oil washing up on some of New Zealand’s most popular
beaches.

The ship’s crew has been evacuated as a precaution against rough weather.

Yesterday it was conformed the ship’s captain has been charged over what’s been described by the New Zealand government as the country’s worst ever oil spill. The captain is facing a $10,000 fine or 12 months in jail if he’s found guilty of operating a vessel causing unnecessary danger or risk to a person or property.

In a statement, the owner of the ship, Greece-based Costamare, said it was “co-operating fully with local authorities” and making every effort to “control and minimize the environmental consequences of this incident”.

The Rena was built in 1990 and was carrying 1,351 containers of goods when it ran aground, according to the owners.

In addition to the oil, the authorities are also concerned about some potentially dangerous goods aboard, and said removing them goods was a priority.


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Stricken boxship causes worst environmental disaster in New Zealand 12 October 2011 by Tauranga City Libraries Staff - BW is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License