Captain of stricken ship is charged in New Zealand

Captain of stricken ship is charged in New Zealand
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Heavy swells and strong winds continue to pound a stricken container ship wedged on a reef off New Zealand.

The Liberian registered Rena has leaked 300 tonnes of oil since last week when it became stranded, creating the country’s worst environmental disaster.

The ship’s captain has appeared in court charged with “operating the vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger and risk”. The 44-year-old Philippine national was bailed for one week but could face 12 months in prison.

Oil from the Rena is now scattered along 25 kilometres of a nearby popular New Zealand holiday spot, where a big clean-up operation is under way.

Birds and wildlife are under threat in this, the breeding season, and booms are being used to keep the oil out of wetland and wildlife habitats.

Clumps of thick toxic fuel are being scraped off the beach by hundreds of volunteers.

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