Please Login or Register

You are here: HomeNews & Media Releases › Disaster Oil Spill in New Zealand

Disaster Oil Spill in New Zealand


Date Posted: 10 Oct 2011 | 7 Comments

Key demands answers on Rena oil spill
Image by
A blue penguin gets a cleanup from veterinarians after the oil spill from the Rena off the Tauranga coast. The Prime Minister is demanding answers as to how the Rena container ship hit Astrolabe Reef and started spewing oil into the sea.

John Key was visibly riled by the situation when he spoke to reporters in Tauranga today.

He said the Rena had “ploughed into” the well-known Astrolabe Reef at 17 knots in calm conditions on Wednesday “for no particular reason”.

Key said there were “serious questions to be answered” and two inquiries had been launched.

He said it was a “major ship” owned by a “significant international shipping company”.

“We want to know why.”

Key rejected criticism that the salvage and oil-recovery effort had been too slow saying he had flown over the ship and he could see it was a “very, very complex situation”.

“I can give (locals) assurances that everyone is doing everything as fast as they can.’’

Asked if the presence of international visitors and media for the Rugby World Cup meant it was a bad time for the accident to happen he said it would always have attracted media attention as it was such an unusual event internationally.

Key is due to fly to Christchurch this afternoon to watch the All Blacks quarter-final with crowds in Hagley Park.

Opposition parties, the Greens and Labour, have both claimed oil booms should be put down now to prevent toxic oil from reaching sensitive Bay of Plenty estuaries and wetlands.

And Labour are blasting the government for being ‘’ woefully under-prepared.’’

Green MP and marine spokesman Gareth Hughes says the government could ‘‘lessen the risk’’ of the deadly substance reaching vulnerable wildlife.

‘‘It is going to be much easier to keep oil out of wetland mudflats than to have to clean it out afterwards,’’ he said of a potential ‘‘catastrophic spill’’ from the container ship.

Maritime New Zealand is investigating using booms at Matakana Island and Maketu Estuary but there is no certainty, he said. It’s also not clear if this will include Little Waihi Harbour.

‘‘Both the Maketu and Little Waihi harbours are important recovering wetlands and should therefore be provided with oil boom protection immediately,’’ he said.

‘‘The urgency is real: Metservice now have a strong wind advisory in place for the Bay of Plenty with winds turning Northeasterly and gusting up to 40 knots on Monday.’’


The Awanuia, a a double hulled bunker barge capable of holding 3000 tonnes of oil, reached Rena this morning and officials say it will be a “matter of hours” before it can start receiving Rena’s load.

Officials are desperate to get the oil off the ship which ran aground on Astrolabe Reef on Wednesday, leaking about 10 tonnes of oil into the sea.

Though naval architects say the ship is currently stable, forecast bad weather moving in tomorrow could change that and hamper efforts to avert a massive environmental contamination.

The oil that has already leaked into the sea is being sprayed with dispersant and today two vessels are undertaking on-water oil recovery.

Ad Feedback Health authorities have issued a warning that Bay of Plenty people should not eat seafood from water with visible oil contamination.

Medical Officer of Health Jim Miller said any seafood that had “off or petrol like odours” should be avoided.

He particularly cautioned against eating shellfish from Motiti Island which is the nearest land to the Rena.

Despite an apparent slowing of the oil spill, preparations are still being made for a larger event if the ship breaks up and sinks.

Shore assessments are being carried out in areas where oil could come ashore and the New Zealand Defence Force has personnel on standby should a clean-up be required.


The Greens have called for a moratorium on all off-shore oil exploration as the grounding of the cargo ship Rena raises serious questions about the country’s ability to deal with major oil spills.

It comes as Key last night sounded an ominous warning of a potential environmental disaster.

“It’s going to be a huge [salvage] exercise and the prime minister believes we need to brace ourselves for a very significant event,” a spokeswoman for Key told the Sunday Star-Times.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said the Rena “had the potential to be New Zealand’s most significant maritime pollution disaster in decades”.

Salvage crews are in a race against time to remove oil from the stricken ship and prevent further spills, as big swells and gale force winds are predicted for tomorrow.

Gareth Hughes, the Green Party’s marine issues spokesman, said the accident should serve as a wake-up call for the government. “They need to put a moratorium on all drilling, including test wells, because what we’re seeing is that Maritime New Zealand is stretched dealing with what would be considered a minor spill compared with what you saw in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said, referring the BP disaster last year.

Key said the government was introducing legislation to ensure adequate environmental protections were in place if deep-sea drilling was undertaken.

“The prime minister would point out that there is no connection between deep sea drilling and a maritime accident of this nature. They are completely unrelated except that they both occur at sea,” the spokeswoman said.

Resources were yesterday being sent from Australia, and four navy ships and 500 Defence Force personnel were put on standby, as salvage crews tried desperately to seal the ship’s fuel tanks. Officials estimated that Rena has spilled about 20 tonnes of oil.

Hughes said New Zealand was not geared to cope with the potential disaster.

“We’ve had to wait days for international experts to arrive in New Zealand, we’ve had to wait days for equipment to come from Australia.

It highlights that a small country with little oil infrastructure faces considerable risks when we have oil leaking into our environment. This has to be a wake-up call for the government in regards to its deep-sea oil plans and energy strategy.”

Labour leader Phil Goff said it was not possible to stop all oil exploration, “but we are going to make it conditional on every environmental safeguard being put in place to stop any disaster occurring. We cannot afford a disaster like the Gulf of Mexico”.

The spokeswoman for Key said: “This is a very complex and very difficult operation and the reality is the salvage operation will take weeks, not days. New Zealand has one of the best salvage teams in the world on the job - they are the experts and it’s important that they are allowed to do their work.”

Key is to meet today with local officials and the accident will be discussed at tomorrow’s cabinet meeting.

The Star-Times spoke to a Tauranga resident, Tommy Kapai, who sailed his yacht within metres of the Rena yesterday. He said he could “taste” the oil from the grounded vessel. He said it looked like a ghost ship. “There is no life on it, it looks like an old, tired granny of the sea.

“You can see the red of the bottom of the boat and then as you come closer you start smelling the oil and then you can actually taste it in your mouth. It’s gross.”

He saw a dead penguin coated in oil floating past.

The Rena is carrying about 1700 tonnes of oil - making a spill a potentially bigger environmental disaster than the 2009 Queensland one, when 230 tonnes of fuel spilled into the Coral Sea, north of Moreton Bay. That cleanup took 16 months and cost $5 million.

Salvage expert Jon Walker, flown in from Singapore, said the company hoped the first pumps could be activated this afternoon but he admitted that the weather was a factor for the success of the mission.

Strengthening nor-easters and increased swell are forecast for tomorrow ahead of a storm on Tuesday.

Maritime pollution response co-ordinator Mick Courtnell said capacity was being marshalled to deal with the worst case scenario - the ship sinking and all the oil being released.

If the ship sinks, another danger arises as some of the containers contain the alloy ferrosilicone which, if it contacts water, gives off hydrogen - which is a fire risk.

Walker said salvaging the ship would require removing the containers off the ship. As the Rena does not have cranes, another ship with a crane would have to be parked alongside to attempt the delicate task.

The ship could then be pulled by tugs off the reef.

Story source

Posted in: New Zealand News

Comments about this article

It has become by far the worst maritime disaster the nation of New Zealand has yet witnessed. “I’d like to acknowledge this event has come to a stage where it is New Zealand’s most significant maritime environmental disaster,” Nick Smith, the country’s environment minister declared.

Bamboo Flooring

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  12/10/2011  at  08:23 PM

If you want to do wholesale cheap designer handbags business, our company is your best choice with the lowest factory wholesale price and free shipping service,welcome to do wholesale cheap purses business! Buy the cheap handbags sale with best quality from our shop now.When favored by a high-profile celebrity, a bag is suddenly more appealing. 

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/01/2012  at  03:13 PM

Nike Shox is an array of tiny hollow columns within the midsoles in the shoe,  usually of rubber. You will find diverse formations, but Nike Shox are typically   four circular columns in a square formation to provide cushioning. There can   also be five or six Shox,25mm high, even though they may possibly vary in   height, and triangular and rectangular Shox that Nike says give much better nike air max 95 Some   shoes have midsoles created entirely of Shox, like the TL air max 95 greenYou’ll find many   possibilities like diverse colors and materials for the Shox, together with   custom tags.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  28/02/2012  at  03:33 PM

rsx69iEventually, coach outlet would restrict sales to hand-selected vendors. coach outlet online Store guarantee that all the coach handbags offered are own high quality. Due to the success that Cashin brought coach outletMichael Kors Outlet louis vuitton bags are other different outfits and look great with casual style. Coach Outlet has always been simple, have their own louis vuitton wallet managers and employees. michael kors canada Additional Coach Outlet stores were under construction in Denver and Seattle. should you come across a good Air Jordan you want you have along with a amazing opportunity of safe-guarding it all. I opened oddly alluring email about Nike Air Max designer accessories. Michael Kors Handbags ralph lauren uk are the premier superior quality and precision cutting. Coco was forced to operate her couture business apart from Parfums chanel uk. More recently, burberry has added two regional brands: Black Label, This louis vuitton uk for sale, many other products and that range appearing companies. louis vuitton To protect against the duplication of his look, I be packing my bathing suits and flip flops into a bag like the louis vuitton uk Keepall 50 Nomade. gucci uk stores featured such finely crafted leather accessories pattern. In late 1988, tiffany uk released her second album, Hold an Old Friend’s Hand. Mulberry Outlet christian louboutin have own characteristic designs. Adorable Cheap sac louis vuitton with metallic silver leather trim. At the helm of louis vuitton sac America was Domenico De Sole, beats by dre is in part simply a response to consumer demand. beats handbags and purses at the dr dre beats with new designs. Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas mulberry sale Today Coach Outlet corporate headquarters remain in mid-town Manhattan on 34th Street. If you buy Coach items at the Coach Outlet Online store, Brown Handbag has been the best seller in the Coach Factory Outlet for almost three weeks. Coach Sunglasses In 1979, Lewis Frankfort, coach outlet current CEO. 

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  18/05/2012  at  07:25 PM

On the other hand, there are these trendy and fashionable plastic frames with so very many designs and colors that you cannot find in metal frames. This is not to say that metal frames are not stylish but they cannot be compared to the oakley frogskins fake variety available in plastic frames. Besides, they are very much in fashion today.

Posted by kei111  on  31/05/2012  at  05:54 PM

asfsdhfghfghdfg Coach Outlet Online Coach Outlet Online Coach Bags Outlet Cheap Coach Handbags Coach Factory coach outlet online louis vuitton bags coach outlet store online Coach Factory Outlet coach outlet coach factory outlet

Posted by Coach Outlet Online  on  05/06/2012  at  12:28 AM

Hence, louis vuitton outlet  below in which the account moncler  is moncler  an acronym: Hamels moncler  supposedly earned allure this suspension, moncler  which implies moncler  definitely considered moncler  towards sales pitch ugg  On tory burch outlet  the versus Hillcrest. This moncler  style may have some minimal relation to canada goose  that Phillies, since they’re away Friday. (Thus, Roy Halladay can certainly try to sell ugg  throughout Hamels location Sat with daily sleep. ) When ever moncler  your moncler  dog proceeds, Hamels ought to get rid Sac Lancel  of the canada goose  actual a coach outlet  hot debate as well ugg  as maintain accomplishing brilliantly (41, 2. 45 ERA) although the the offense locates it’s option.. In christian louboutin outlet  the moncler  mean time, True Religion Outlet  a remaining " leg " should really keep the appropriate base. Lancel Pas Cher  The Lotus offer Doudoune Canada Goose  demands moncler outlet  plenty of Prada Outlet  steadiness and also quantity. It might take a whole lot of train, Doudoune Parajumpers  still if you great canada goose  this particular cause, meditating may canada goose  come convenient. There moncler  was examples where by glitches experience took place. On the moncler  other hand, as the react connected with drilling Doudoune Canada Goose  some sort of Marcellus shale moncler  natural Canada Goose  gas effectively was performed additionally, moncler  the most certainlyddddd

Posted by kei111  on  04/11/2013  at  01:58 PM

Add your Comment

You must be logged in to add a comment. Please Login or Register Sponsors


News Categories