Tanker leaking fuel on to NZ reef
Marine crews were preparing yesterday for an operation to extract oil from a container ship that is stranded on a reef near New Zealand.
The 775ft Liberia-flagged Rena struck the Astrolabe Reef about 12 nautical miles from Tauranga Harbour last Wednesday, and has been foundering there since. The ship has been leaking fuel, leading to fears it could cause an environmental disaster.
Heavy swells and gale-force winds are forecast for the area from today. The ship has about 1,700 metric tonnes of fuel on board, according to Maritime New Zealand, the agency responsible for shipping.
The agency believes up to 30 tonnes have leaked into the Bay of Plenty.
The agency said yesterday that a barge, the Awanuia, had pulled up alongside the Rena and was to begin pumping fuel from the stricken ship. The operation is expected to last at least two days.
"We are working around the clock to remove the oil," the agency said.