Container ship strikes reef, flooding

07:07, Oct 05 2011
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island.
The crippled Rena, with  a growing oil slick, off the coast of Mt Maunganui.
The crippled Rena, with a growing oil slick, off the coast of Mt Maunganui.
Low tide showed the extent of the problems facing the Rena's specialist salvage team.
Low tide showed the extent of the problems facing the Rena's specialist salvage team.
The crew had remained onboard despite the vessel's list.
The crew had remained onboard despite the vessel's list.
Oil collected from the water near the stricken cargo ship Rena.
Oil collected from the water near the stricken cargo ship Rena.
Rena - Tania Gaborit
SHOCKED: Marine biologist Tania Gaborit looks at oil in the water from the Rena.
Rena - Listing
LISTING: Waves break over the reef while the Rena sits, stranded.
Rena - Listing
GOING NOWHERE: The Rena sits helpless on the reef.
penguin
A blue penguin found at Papamoa beach at the New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre Mount Maunganui.
penguin
A blue penguin found at Papamoa beach at the New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre Mount Maunganui.
A 3D graphic of the Astrolabe Reef. The colours indicate the water depth.
Oil
ASHORE: Globules of oil from the stricken Rena have washed up along a stretch of Mount Maunganui beach.
Oil from Rena
EVERYWHERE: Globules of oil cover Mount Maunganui beach.
Dave Lynn
CLEAN UP: Resident Dave Lynn scoops up some of the oil now washing up on Mt Manganui beach.
Oil
SCATTERED: Globules of oil now washing up on Mt Manganui beach.
Oil
DIRTY MESS: Mt Manganui beach is awash with blobs of oil from the stricken ship Rena.
Oil
POLLUTED: Oil sits in the water at Mount Maunganui.
Rena
MESSAGE TO THE MASSES: A shipping crate at Papamoa with mural relating to the container ship Rena.
Clean up
LONG JOB: Volunteers help clean up the oil from the beach at Mt Maunganui.
Birds found dead on a Tauranga beach.
Birds found dead on a Tauranga beach.
Oil residues on Omanu beach at the 5 1/2 km beach entry point, Tuesday morning.
DEBRIS: Oil residues on Omanu beach at the 5 1/2 km beach entry point, Tuesday morning. Photographer Todd Murdoch says: 'I could smell the oil close to my house which is located 1km back from the beach.'
ARATAKI BEACH: Reader Brooke Money says: 'This is all that can be seen all the way down the beach - blotches of black, thick oil.'
ARATAKI BEACH: Reader Brooke Money says: 'This is all that can be seen all the way down the beach - blotches of black, thick oil.' Picture taken Tuesday.
The ship has 1368 containers on board.
RENA: The ship has 1368 containers on board.
Oil on the beach near Mount Maunganui.
Oil on the beach near Mount Maunganui.
Oiled Wildlife Response Unit
Oiled Wildlife Response Unit at the scene Monday.
Sunny, 9 years, with his dead fish on Mt Maunganui beach.
Sunny, 9 years, with his dead fish on Mt Maunganui beach.
Rena crew
ASHORE: Crew members from the Rena come ashore after a mayday call this morning.
Rena crew
INJURED: A naval officer is carried to an ambulance after a member of the salvage crew fell on him during the evacuation of the ship.
Rena crew
WATCHING, WAITING: Crew of the Rena look out the window of a hanger at the Tauranga Airport.
The container ship Rena's position on Astrolabe Reef.
The container ship Rena's position on Astrolabe Reef.
Rena grounded on Astrolabe reef
A three-dimensional rendering of the position of the Rena, grounded on the Astrolabe reef.
rena oil spill on Mt Maunganui Beach
Tauranga resident Chris Munro on Mt Maunganui beach, Wednesday morning.
Rena stern - Wednesday October 12
Containers seen falling from Rena's stern - Wednesday October 12.
Rena port - Wednesday October 12
Rena's port side, pictured Wednesday October 12.
Rena
OVERBOARD: Containers from the Rena float in the ocean after falling from the ship.
penguin
COVERED: A bird lies dead on Mt Maunganui beach today.
Penguin
UNSURVIVABLE: A bird that has been washed up on the beach, coated in oil.
Papamoa
CASUALTY: One of the penguins that died following the oil spill. This was found at Papamoa just after high tide today.
Rena lists in heavy seas
This photo taken from the HMNZS Endeavour shows Rena listing in heavy seas. Between 30 and 70 containers fell from the Rena overnight.
Rena captain in court
The captain of the Rena, whose identity is suppressed, appears in court charged over the grounding of the container ship.
Rena
POUNDED: Waves crash onto the listing Rena's deck.
Public meeting in Tauranga to discuss the unfolding disaster.
Environment Minister Nick Smith (centre) and Transport Minister Steven Joyce (right) at a public meeting in Tauranga to discuss the unfolding disaster.
Papamoa clean up
CLEAN-UP: Volunteers help clean up the oil from the beach at Papamoa
Papamoa clean up
CLEAN-UP: Volunteers collecting oil sludge from the beach at Papamoa
Papamoa clean up
CLEAN-UP: Papamoa beach is covered with oil sludge
crack appearing in the middle of the Rena's hull.
This image shows a crack appearing in the middle of the Rena's hull.

There is significant flooding onboard a large container ship which has run aground on a reef off the coast of Tauranga. 

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) this afternoon said some fuel from hydraulic pumps on the Rena, a Liberia-flagged 235m vessel, had leaked, but its fuel tanks were still intact.

It was not known how long it would take for the ship to be recovered, as it was stuck "hard and dry" on the reef, Maritime NZ incident controller Renny van der Velde told media at a conference this afternoon.

Cargo ship on Tauranga reef
LISTING: The ship can be seen on a lean, caught on the reef off Tauranga.

The ship had been heading to Tauranga from Napier when it crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, about 7km north of Motiti Island, around 2.20am.

The ship was now on a 10-degree list but stable on the reef. There was no explanation yet about what happened, according to Maritime New Zealand.

As the Rena was carrying around 1700 tonnes of fuel, the national oil response team had been activated - but only as a precaution, van der Velde said.

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There was no sign of oil leakage other than some hydraulic fuel, which could be seen as a light sheen around the vessel.

However, there was "significant flooding" onboard in two of the ship's cargo holds and in two twin tanks to the side of the cargo hold, he said.

The water was being pumped out.

The ship's hull had been badly damaged in the grounding. A number of tanks had been breached, van Der velde said.

"But the important thing is that everyone is safe," he said. There were 25 crew aboard, who would remain on the ship.

A maritime safety inspector was also on board and salvage advisors would head to Tauranga tomorrow to help prepare a salvage plan.

The owner would then have to seek approval from MNZ to go forward.

Tauranga regional harbour master Carl Magazinovic said MNZ was involved due to the size and complexity of the grounding.

As a precaution fuel in the ship's port tanks was being shifted to the starboard side.

The Marine Pollution Response Service (MPRS) was called this morning and trained spill responders with equipment were heading to Tauranga. They were equipped with dispersant and booms in case of a spill.

Members of the National Oiled Wildlife Response Team were also on their way.

MNZ had also activated its Maritime Incident Response Team, which was monitoring the situation from Wellington.

Magazinovic directed all unauthorised ships to stay at least 1 kilometre clear of the Astrolabe Reef and the grounded ship until further notice.

He said there were already reports of sightseeing vessels nearby, potentially causing safety issues and disrupting response efforts.

"This situation is expected to continue for some time so we will be monitoring movement of vessels around the area, and anyone found breaching the exclusion zone could face a fine of up to $20,000."

Howard Saunders, a marine expert from New Zealand Diving and Salvage, said it was normal practice to make the ship lighter and wait for the high tide to get it off the reef.

"When vessels go aground, if they are carrying goods, you have to get some of the goods off to lighten it.

"And normally you try and take something off a reef or rocks at high tides when there is more water," he said.

Port of Napier said the ship made its weekly stop earlier this week and left for Tauranga on Tuesday morning. Its next port of call was to be Brisbane.

The weather was fine in Tauranga, with the chance of some showers. There was fair visibility with northeast winds at 18.5kmh, rising to easterly 37kmh this afternoon, and swells were up to 1m high.

SAFETY CONCERNS

In August the Australian Maritime Safety Authority ordered the Rena detained for more than a day.

The 22-year-old ship was found in Freemantle to have a number of serious deficiencies including defective hatchway covers, and incorrectly stowed cargo. It was allowed to sail when the hatch covers were secured.

The ship is owned by the company Costamare Inc, of Greece, and was under the charter of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

While MSC was helping Maritime NZ with its inquiry, responsibility for the stricken craft reverted to the owners until the issue was resolved.

It was carrying export product such as milk powder, timber, fish and meat.

NEW ZEALAND FUEL-RELATED SHIPPING ACCIDENTS

There have been five significant shipping incidents since 1990:

* 1998: Dong Wong 529 spilled 400 tonnes of automotive gas oil off Steward Island.

* 1999: Rotoma spilled about 7 tonnes of oily bilge discharge around Poor Knights Island.

* 2000: Sea Fresh poured 60 tonnes of diesel near the Chatham Islands.

* 2002: Jody F Millennium spilled 25 tonnes of fuel at a Gisborne beach.

* 2002: Tai Ping was grounded near the entrance to Bluff Harbour. No oil was spilled.