05 August 2011

Oops, captain, we have a problem: Massive ship carrying 2,000 containers is stuck fast on reef:

  • Liberian-registered vessel stranded 12 miles from New Zealand
Stranded : The 47,230 tonne Rena aground about 12 nautical miles off
the New Zealand coast
Listing violently to one side, its cargo of 2,000 containers balanced precariously on deck, this massive container ship remains stuck fast after its captain failed to negotiate a shallow reef.

The 47,230 tonne Liberian-flagged Rena ran aground about 12 nautical miles from Tauranga, on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.

Location of the stranded ship MV Rena
Maritime New Zealand said the 236-metre vessel had been holed in several places and was leaking a small amount of oil.

But they said its heavy fuel tanks were intact and none of the 25 crew members had been injured or was in any immediate danger. Its cargo is not yet known.

Spokesman Renny van der Velde said: 'Weather conditions are very, very good, the current situation of the vessel is stable, there is no oil spill.

Balancing act : The Liberian registered cargo ship, with more than 2,000 containers on board, lists at an angle of 10 degrees
'There is significant flooding in two cargo holds, there is a significant amount of water, some pumping has occurred and is ongoing.'

With the ship listing at an angle of 10 degrees, heavy fuel oil has been pumped from tanks in its damaged side.

A small amount of hydraulic oil has been detected around the vessel, but is posing no hazard.

A specialist oil spill team is in the area and ready to respond to any escape of fuel oil.

On the rocks : Maritime New Zealand said the 236-metre vessel was stuck
'hard and dry' on the reef
Refloating the vessel is the responsibility of the owners and salvage experts, but any plan would need official approval.

Mr van der Velde said: 'The vessel is hard and dry on the reef so it may take some time, certainly from current indications this will be an ongoing and quite a long process.'

He said it was not yet known how the ship came to hit the reef.

Towering : The vessel was holed in several places and leaking a small amount of oil, but its main fuel tanks remain intact and none of the 25 crew members has been injured
The Rena, operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Co, was headed for Tauranga to load further cargo.

There was no immediate comment from the shipping company.

Tauranga, 120 miles south east of New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland, is one of the the country's largest ports.

The district is a popular holiday resort, with long beaches renowned for surfing.

Salvage advisers are due to arrive tomorrow to assess the damage and advise how to refloat the vessel.

Source: The Daily Mail. By Daniel Miller. 5 October 2011

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