NZ beaches under threat from Rena debris

Posted: 01/15/2012 in all marine news

Cleo Fraser –

Debris from the ship stranded on New Zealand’s Astrolabe Reef is expected to be strewn from northern Coromandel to Gisborne after the stern sank, taking 400 containers with it.

Salvors hope to remove most at sea before it reaches shores.

According to Braemar Howells operations manager Claudine Sharp, of the 400 containers thought to be onboard the stern of the Rena before it sank, just two were lost overboard.

Advertisement: Story continues below The fate of the rest will not be known until calmer weather conditions allow divers to investigate the area. NZ Environment Minister Nick Smith said less than 10 tonnes of oil was expected to discharge into the sea as a result of the stern sinking.

“This is a tribute to a large amount of oil being removed in October,” he said during a news conference in Tauranga.

Oil and debris was expected to wash up on nearby Motiti Island about 6pm (4pm AEDT) on Tuesday, with more expected as far as Matata on Wednesday afternoon. The stern hasn’t moved since it sank about 10am (8am AEDT) on Tuesday.

A 140-strong clean-up crew is stationed at Waihi Beach, Papamoa and Matakana Island.

There are also 13 vessels in the water clearing debris at sea.

Since Rena broke in two at the weekend during a severe storm, 49 containers have come off the vessel. Of those, 45 have been located, with 25 beached from Waihi Beach to Bowentown.

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