. Earth Science News .

More oil spills expected from stricken N.Z. ship
by Staff Writers
Tauranga, New Zealand (AFP) Oct 16, 2011

New Zealand warned more oil was set to spill from a crippled container ship Monday, as looming bad weather threatened to halt the draining of fuel from the stricken vessel's tanks.

Salvage crews pumped 20 tonnes of fuel overnight from the Rena but about 1,300 tonnes remain on the wreck, which is listing badly on an offshore reef, and officials said removing it was a painstaking, dangerous operation.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said more coastal communities in the environmentally fragile Bay of Plenty were braced for the slick created by 300 tonnes of oil that have already leaked from the Rena to hit their shores.

As an army of volunteers continued to collect black sludge from affected shores on the North Island bay, which teems with wildlife, the company that chartered the ship denied liability for New Zealand's worst sea pollution disaster.

But Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world's second-largest container shipping firm, said it was willing to shoulder an unspecified part of the rising clean-up bill, estimated at NZ$4 million ($3.2 million) so far.

"We are not liable in this situation but we are more than willing to assist and help wherever possible," MSC's Australasian managing director Kevin Clarke told reporters after a meeting with Environment Minister Steve Joyce.

Joyce said MSC had an obligation "as a responsible corporate citizen" to make a contribution as the Liberian-flagged vessel was under contract to it when it hit the reef.

With the salvage operation making slow progress due to the wreck's precarious position and intermittent bad weather, Joyce warned: "I would expect further spills to occur at different points of this exercise, so we've got a way to go yet."

MNZ salvage manager Bruce Anderson said a three-man crew worked overnight to pump oil from the vessel, which has has huge cracks in its hull and could break apart at any time.

"It was hairy," he told reporters. "This thing is groaning and creaking and making huge noises. It's a vessel dying."

Anderson said the salvage team was increased to nine on Monday, with workers scrambling to install more efficient pumps before a forecast deterioration in the weather Monday night.

But he said the sticky, viscous oil had to be heated before it could be pumped through an eight-centimetre (three-inch) pipe and the crew had to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice,

He too expected further oil spills as the salvage operation dragged on.

"How much oil we don't know yet, when, we don't know yet," he said, adding that pumping was likely to halt Monday night if seas became choppy as expected.

Large cracks have opened in the Rena's hull about 90 metres (300 feet) from its prow. The front end is wedged on the rocky Astrolabe Reef, about 22 kilometres offshore, while the rear is floating in the sea.

The spilled oil has killed about 1,300 birds and fouled once pristine beaches, prompting 5,500 people to volunteer for shoreline clean up teams.

Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Struggle to get oil off stricken New Zealand ship
Tauranga, New Zealand (AFP) Oct 16, 2011
Salvage workers struggled Sunday to begin pumping oil from a stricken container ship off the New Zealand coast as approaching foul weather threatened to disrupt the recovery. The spilled oil has killed about 1,000 birds and has been washed up on once pristine beaches. Authorities began Sunday to reopen sections of popular beaches near where the cargo vessel Rena ran aground 11 days ago a ... read more

Gas blast kills 11 miners in north China: Xinhua

Radioactive emissions from Fukushima plant fall: TEPCO

UN atomic team urges efficiency in Japan decontamination

UN atomic agency team to conclude Japan mission

RIM rallies developers to burnish BlackBerry

ORBCOMM Announces Launch of AIS-Enabled Satellite

Chinese chemical demand lures European firms

e2v celebrates the successful delivery of imaging sensors for Gaia

Pesticides pollute European waterbodies more than previously thought

China invests billions to avert water crisis

'Iron' fist proposed for Miami's giant snail problem

Chilean giant dam row enters Supreme Court

US probes mystery disease killing Arctic seals

NASA Continues Critical Survey of Antarctica's Changing Ice

Research shows how life might have survived 'snowball Earth'

Rising CO2 levels at end of Ice Age not tied to Pacific Ocean

Chinese wine students are boon for Bordeaux

Chinese activists save 1,000 dogs from slaughter

Feeding the world while protecting the planet

Energy, food security to dominate Rio+20: envoy

Underwater volcano erupts off Spanish coast

Thai capital's barriers hold but floods still menace

Thai PM says floods costs to top $3.3bn

Airports reopen after Chile ash woes

Kenyan forces hunt militants deep inside Somalia

Planned Tanzanian soda ash plant threatens flamingoes

Obama risks miring US in an African war: McCain

Uganda welcomes US troops to hunt rebel leaders

100,000-year-old ochre toolkit and workshop discovered in South Africa

Children, not chimps, choose collaboration

In the brain, winning is everywhere

Alzheimer's might be transmissible in similar way as infectious prion diseases


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement