Dead birds found in N. Zealand oil slick

Oct 06, 2011
A Bay of Plenty Regional Council photo from October 5, 2011 shows a container ship stranded on a reef off New Zealand's North Island. The Liberian-flagged 47,000 tonne container vessel "Rena" hit Astrolabe Reef, about 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) off the coast of Tauranga, early on October 5 and is leaking oil, creating a two kilometre (1.2 mile) slick, maritime authorities said.

The first dead birds have been found in oil that leaked from a container ship stranded off New Zealand, authorities said Thursday.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said four dead birds had been discovered in the slick and two wildlife rescue centres had been set up.

MNZ has officially declared the 47,000 tonne container vessel "Rena" a hazardous ship after it ran aground on a reef early Wednesday about 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) off the North Island.

The authority also said Thursday the oil slick had more than doubled in size in just a few hours.

MNZ on-site controller Rob Service said a monitoring flight over the stricken vessel on Thursday afternoon revealed the was five kilometres long, up from two kilometres earlier in the day.

He said oil was still leaking intermittently from the Liberian-flagged vessel, apparently coming from pipes damaged when it hit the Astrolabe Reef off the coast from Tauranga.

Map showing the coast of Tauranga off New Zealand's North Island where oil leaking from a stranded ship has spread into a two kilometre slick.

"We are not aware of any actual breaches in the fuel tanks. However, because of the extensive damage to the vessel, it is difficult to determine accurately what the scale and scope of the damage is," he said.

Service said it was not clear how much of the 1,700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on board had leaked.

The Astrolabe Reef is covered with colourful sponges and anemones, according to the Department of Conservation, with seals and gamefish such as marlin common in surrounding waters.

Service said the MNZ response team was testing whether could be used to break up the slick.

"Reports are that it is going well," he said. "We will review the results from the trials later today, with a view to launching a full dispersant operation tomorrow morning."

MNZ said the declaration that the "Rena" was a hazardous ship gave the agency power to take control of the salvage operation if it was deemed necessary.

A salvage team appointed by the ship's owners was already on board, it added.

None of the ship's 25-man crew was injured when it ran aground. Why it stranded remains unknown and is subject to a Transport Accident Investigation Commission inquiry.

Explore further: US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Oil spill as container ship hits N. Zealand reef

Oct 05, 2011

A large container ship ran aground on a reef off New Zealand's North Island Wednesday, releasing a "light sheen of oil" but not posing a major environmental hazard, the country's maritime authority said.

Australia questions crew of ship that ran aground

Apr 06, 2010

(AP) -- The crew of a coal-carrying ship that ran aground on Australia's Great Barrier Reef and is leaking oil will be questioned Tuesday about why their vessel was in a restricted area, an official said.

Chinese ship leaks oil in Great Barrier Reef zone

Apr 04, 2010

A Chinese coal carrier leaking oil in Australia's environmentally sensitive Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after running aground, could be in danger of breaking up, authorities warned Sunday.

Salvaging ship from Barrier Reef could take weeks

Apr 05, 2010

(AP) -- A salvage team could take weeks to remove a grounded coal-carrying ship from Australia's Great Barrier Reef, where it is leaking oil in a pristine marine environment, a state leader said on Monday.

Fuel spill at same Alaska reef as Exxon Valdez

Dec 25, 2009

A tugboat struck the same reef as the Exxon Valdez tanker 20 years ago, spilling diesel into Alaska's Prince William Sound and creating a three-mile-long slick, the US Coast Guard said on Friday.

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Apr 18, 2014

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mikiwud
1 / 5 (10) Oct 07, 2011
Dead birds found at all wind farms!

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...