Oil has begun washing up on a popular beach in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, as salvage workers race against the clock to prevent an environmental disaster.
Weather is deteriorating off the coast of Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, where a container ship carrying 1700 tonnes of oil and toxic material grounded.
The military has been called in to help in case of a major spill, as workers struggle to pump oil from the ship and remove the dangerous containers.
Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby said: “The best people in the world are here now working incredibly hard under now challenging conditions, as you can see, to remove the oil and lessen the risk of an environmental catastrophe.”
The government has ordered an investigation into how the Liberian-registered ship came to be stuck on a well-known reef. It has also confirmed the probe will look into whether the captain had been drinking.