Bad weather hinders oil spill salvage from stricken ship off New Zealand

18 October 2011 (Last Updated October 18th, 2011 18:30)

The salvage operation to pump oil from a cargo ship stranded off the northern coast of New Zealand has been set back due to rough seas and strong winds in the region.

The salvage operation to pump oil from a cargo ship stranded off the northern coast of New Zealand has been set back due to rough seas and strong winds in the region.

MNZ salvageunit manager Andrew Berry said: "Strong winds of up to 35kt (65km/h) and swells of 2-4m have hampered salvage efforts since late last night. There are currently no salvors on board Rena as the salvors, Svitzer, wait for weather conditions to improve before attempting to re-board the ship to recommence pumping on to Awanuia."

According to reports, about 90t of oil had been pumped off, leaving more than 1,200t still on board the vessel, which sparked sea pollution from the spilled oil.

The Liberian-flagged cargo carrier Rena, owned by Greek company Costamare, has been stuck for 12 days on a reef 14 miles off Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

The vessel, which remains adrift, has reported stress fracture to the hull, triggering fears that the vessel may break in two, which is making the removal of oil and more than 1,000 containers from the boat difficult.