M/V Rena update: substantial structural failure, vessel may break apart

Posted: 10/13/2011 in all marine news

gCaptain – 

A cargo vessel carrying oil and other substances that is stranded off the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island is continuing to spill oil and might break apart.

Prime Minister John Key, who traveled to the area, told local media Wednesday that stress fractures have been identified on the ship, the Rena, and that its disintegration cannot be ruled out.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Nick Smith said some 1,300 tons of heavy oil remain on the vessel and every effort is being made to contain it. He said the oil posed a far bigger environmental risk than anything else the vessel is carrying.

“If the ship breaks apart and those stern tanks release the…oil, that is when this thing will get even worse,” he said.

Approximately 70 containers out of a total of 1,368 have fallen off the ship so far, and it is highly likely more will be lost due to the current severe weather conditions and the vessel’s heavy list, Maritime New Zealand said Wednesday.

Eleven of the containers are filled with hazardous substances but those are still on board, it added.

Navigational warnings have been issued to mariners and major ships have been rerouted, the maritime authority said. In addition, the captain of the stranded vessel has been arrested and charged “for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk.

Full story…

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