Rena on Astrolabe Reef spilling oil

Date: 11/10/2011

The ship, stuck on Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga moved overnight from a 11 degree to a six degree list because the rock pinnacle it was on was crushed, Maritime New Zealand said. Teams of trained and equipped personnel were preparing to head out  to clean up the oil on Mt Maunganui and Papamoa beaches. Rubber-neckers are being urged not to go down to the beach to take a look at the thick globs of oil washing up. At least 90 birds may already have been affected by oil spilling from the ship. The wildlife treatment facility at Te Maunga has nine oiled birds, but with oil already washing up on Mount Maunganui beaches the number is expected to rise. Wildlife centre director Brett Gartrell said the nine birds taken in by the facility were unlikely to be the only ones affected. He said some estimates suggested only 10 per cent of oiled birds were rescued. This could mean that 81 other oiled birds might already have died.”There are lots and lots of seabirds in the area. This is a really rich area. There’s a very high possibility we’ll be dealing with a large scale,” he said. Dr Gartrell said when the birds became heavy with oil they drowned quickly. A seal found in the path of the spreading oil was captured by a Department of Conservation patrol yesterday afternoon. It has been taken to the Te Maunga facility in order to keep it safe.

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