With the arrival of calmer weather, the pumping of oil has resumed from the stricken Rena container ship in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty.
While there are hopes the ship is now stuck tight enough to the Astrolabe reef to prevent its breakup, it has lost dozens of its over 1,000 containers, many of which are washed up on the beaches along with some 300 tonnes of fuel oil that have already leaked.
At least 11 containers contain hazardous materials, one of which can explode on contact with water.
The ship’s Greek owners, Costamare Shipping, have apologised for the accident and have promised to fully cooperate with the investigation into how the Rena managed to hit the well-charted reef. A second officer has appeared in court on charges of “operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk.”
More than 50 tonnes of oil have been scooped from the beaches, and many local people are ignoring warnings to stay away and are doing what they can to clean up the mess.