Representatives from Maritime New Zealand stated that approximately 1,000 tons of heavy fuel oil have been extracted from four out of the five tanks on the ship, the MV “Rena”, which broke down in the outer vicinity of the Bay of Plenty after colliding with a reef. The ship held 1,368 containers full of 1,700 metric tons of fuel oil and four containers of ferrosilicion which is extremely dangerous upon contact once it touches water. The last and fifth tank is estimated to be holding 350 tons of oil.
58 containers that were being transported are reported missing.
Half of the containers lost and recovered were empty of their contents.
The costs of the operations along with the lost oil may very well be over 6 million U.S. dollars. The rest of the duration of the salvaging operation could take up to a few more days depending on numerous factors such as the weather and the stability of the Rena.
Officials previously estimated that 1,346 tons of the total 1,700 tons of oil could still be on the ship while the rest could be leaking out into the waters.
According to ONE News, fresh oil has been found on the Papamoa beach. Maritime New Zealand admitted that a decent quantity of oil could be still leaking from the ship.
Clean-up teams on the 37 mile long shore are still in a frenzy as they tend to hundreds of oil coated birds while also checking if the oil has not contaminated the beaches or if any other creatures such as dolphins have been covered in oil yet.
Although parts of the Bay of Plenty have been cautiously opened to the public after a few environmental assessments, the missing oil which could very well be in the waters has caused authorities to postpone the opening of some beaches and prohibit boats out into the affected areas.
More than 1,400 birds, some of them endangered and rare species, have been found dead so far.
The Rena’s ship captain and a crew member in charge of navigation have been charged with “causing unnecessary danger or risk” under the Maritime Act which carries the maximum penalty of 7,900 U.S. dollars or a year in prison.
Those who find untagged containers on the beach or oil in the vicinity are being instructed to call 0800 OIL SPILL (0800 645 774).
(Cover Photo: RAWStory)