Thursday, October 13, 2011

'Massive' oil spill clean-up underway in New Zealand - 13th Oct 2011

A major clean-up operation is underway along the north coast of New Zealand 's North Island as debris and oil leaking from a cargo ship that ran aground on a reef wash ashore, officials say.

The Rena, a Liberian-flagged vessel, struck the Astrolabe Reef, about 12 nautical miles off the city of Tauranga, last week.

New Zealand's oil spill response agency, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ), estimates that as much as 300 tonnes of fuel oil has leaked from the vessel, which was carrying 1,700 cubic meters (450,000 gallons) of fuel.

The country's environment minister, Nick Smith, has called the spill the country's most significant maritime environmental disaster.

As of Wednesday, clean-up teams, comprised of some 500 responders, collected 50 tonnes of solid waste and five tonnes of liquid waste from beaches in the Bay of Plenty, cleaning oil from 17 kilometers of coastline, MNZ said.

Pubic access to some waterfront areas has been restricted due to health concerns. Read More