Storm rips stranded New Zealand ship in half
WELLINGTON - Agence France-Presse
The stranded cargo ship Rena breaks in two after storms with 6-meter waves pounded the vessel in New Zealand. AP photoA cargo ship grounded off the New Zealand coast since October has split in two, spilling sea containers and debris and sparking fears of a fresh oil spill, maritime officials said yesterday.
The wreck of the Greek-owned Rena was described as New Zealand’s worst maritime environmental disaster even before the rear section of the ship, lashed by pounding seas, broke away overnight. The ship previously spilled heavy fuel oil that fouled pristine North Island beaches and killed up to 20,000 seabirds, and despite salvage efforts nearly 400 tons of oil remain onboard.
The storm that split the vessel will continue for another three to four days, Maritime New Zealand spokesman Ross Henderson said. Officials said up to 300 of the roughly 880 containers that had been on board were lost when the ship broke apart. Of those, about 30 percent had been fitted with monitoring devices and some 30 containers had already been located.