The cargo ship that ran aground on a New Zealand reef may have to be broken up so that containers onboard can be removed.
Calm winds have allowed 18 to be retrieved from Rena so far, but dismantling the vessel could be the only way to move the more than 1,200 remaining containers.
Although the oil spill has been stopped, the accident continues to affect people working in the Bay of Plenty. One of them is charter boat operator Garth Le Lievre: “This is when we make our money, and if we make no money this summer, what’s the winter going to be like? We’re going to be buggered,” he said.
The ship got into trouble near Tauranga Harbour on New Zealand’s North Island, emptying 350 tonnes of oil into the sea on October 5. More than 1,000 sea birds were killed.
New Zealand’s Environment Minister Nick Smith has called it the country’s most serious maritime environmental disaster.
Local fishermen may have to wait seven months – the estimated time for emptying the Rena and dealing with the shipwreck.
Beach restrictions have been lifted in the Bay of Plenty, but the clean-up operation is ongoing.