An oil spill in New Zealand is now being described by the government as the country’s “worst ever maritime environmental disaster”.
Officials have confirmed that oil is now pouring into the sea at a faster rate than previously thought.
Yesterday authorities said up to 30 tonnes of oil had leaked from the grounded container ship Rena, but now say the figure could be as high as 350.
Oil has already begun to come ashore on numerous beaches in the Bay of Plenty, in a part of the country where nature reserves and wildlife are popular with local and overseas holidaymakers.
Bad weather has been hampering efforts to pump some 1700 tonnes of oil from the ship, which is also carrying containers with toxic materials.