Giant oil spill threatens New Zealand

October 11, 2011 | Environment
Rena: destroying Nature in New Zealand

A container ship ran aground on a reef in New Zealand's pristine Bay of Plenty, one of the country's top tourist destinations and an incredible surfing region.

Rena, the 775-foot ship, which originated from Liberia, struck the Astrolabe Reef about 12 nautical miles from Tauranga Harbor, and has produced an oil slick that extends about three miles from the ship.

It is esimated that up to 10,000 gallons of oil have leaked from the ship since the crash and toxic oil is now washing ashore. One of the beaches impacted is Mt. Maunganui Beach, which is a prime surfing area.

International crews are scrambling to limit the environmental damage and refloat the vessel before it breaks up.

If the ship breaks up, it could release over 540,000 gallons of heavy fuel into an area that is home to whales, dolphins, seals, penguins and a variety of other birds.

Source: Surfrider Foundation

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