Monday, October 10, 2011

New Zealand's stunning coast in danger as oil begins to wash ashore from stricken ship - 10th Oct 2011

These worrying images of globules of thick, black oil show that it's now a race against time in order to save New Zealand's stunning coastline after a leak from a stricken ship has begun to wash ashore.

Spots of the slick now punctuate the stunning beaches after the Liberian ship MV Rena struck the Astrolabe Reef about 14 miles from Tauranga Harbour in the Bay of Plenty region on the North Island.

The 775-foot (236-metre) ship, which ran aground on Wednesday, has created a three-mile leak, leading to fears it could cause an environmental disaster if it breaks apart.

Today work to extract oil from the vessel was called off because of concerns about severe weather conditions.

After beginning an operation yesterday to extract up to 1,700 metric tons of oil from the stricken ship - the equivalent of about 10,700 barrels - marine crews halted pumping after managing to remove just 10 metric tons. Read More