A stricken cargo ship which caused New Zealand’s worst ever maritime disaster has broken in two, raising fears of further pollution along the North Island coast.
The Greek-owned Rena, caused an oil leak after it ran aground in October.
Environmental campaigners are worried many more of the ship’s 1,400 containers and their contents will be discharged along the Bay of Plenty coast.
Some of the containers that have already fallen overboard during heavy seas are filled with dangerous chemicals.
Despite salvage efforts to remove more than 1,000 tons of oil from the vessel, New Zealand’s northern resort coastline of Tauranga has seen its pristine beaches spoilt.
More than 20,000 seabirds have been killed as a result.
With the Rena in such a fragile state and storms expected to continue for the next few days, clean-up teams are worried that more black sludge will wash up on the shore.