Rena Oil Spill Latest: Containers In Sea, Cpt Charged


Latest main developments:

  • 70 containers in sea
  • Rena captain charged
  • Police warn anyone opening containers washed up will be charged

Rena this morning | NZDF

Rena port side | NZDF

About 70 containers – but not those containing hazardous materials- have come off the stricken cargo ship Rena and are now in the water heading for shore.
Maritime NZ says it’s highly likely that more will come off due to the current severe weather conditions and the vessel’s heavy list.
Once an aerial survey is completed, there will be a clearer picture of exactly how many containers have come adrift. This aerial survey will go ahead today once the weather has cleared and the sea conditions have improved.

There are 1368 containers on board. Eleven containers containing hazardous substances are still on the vessel and are not among the 70 estimated overboard.
Navigational warnings have been issued to mariners and major shipping has been re-routed.

Containers are likely to wash up on the beaches.
The officer in charge of the Police operation to support Maritime New Zealand, Inspector Karl Wright-St Clair, says even if the containers come ashore, they remain the property of the original owners or insurers. He says people have a statutory responsibility to notify authorities about their location.

Inspector Wright-St Clair says people should not attempt to open any of the containers, as some of them may contain hazardous material. He says it is also an offence to attempt to open or retrieve any of the containers.

“If people see any containers, please call 0800 OIL SPILL immediately to give them the location. Ideally, please give them the beach access number that the container is closest to, or any other noticeable landmark.

Inspector Wright-St Clair says if people are found to be interfering with containers, they will be dealt with by Police, with a view to prosecution.

The Master of the vessel Rena has been arrested and charged by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act (MTA) 1994, “for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk”.

He will appear in the Tauranga District Court . One s65 MTA charge has been laid, but it is likely more charges may follow.
The s65 charge carries a maximum penalty of $10,000, or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.

Penguin being at the wildlife rehabilitation facility| Blair Harkness




  1. David says:

    Isnt it fantastic how long it took to get the recovery operation under way for this. You do have to wonder if some or all of the oil could have been removed in teh first day before the bad weather, and a helicopter capable of removing the containers bought in before they went overboard….

    Tragic and silly. Sounds like politics between company owning ship and whoever is to blame here.

  2. Ingolfson says:

    David, lifting dozens of 40 feet containers by helicopter, from a listing ship, in bad weather? Loaded weight for each of them can be as much as 30 tons!

    The biggest heavy-lift helicopters around can generally can lift no more than 10-20 tons, and I am not aware that NZ even has any such large copters!

  3. Geoff Houtman says:


    There were 4 days of good weather in which nothing was done.

    Appreciate your point about weight though.

    Just shows how completely unprepared we are again…

    These schmucks at Maritime NZ make ATEED look competent.

  4. sally says:

    David, I have know idea what part of nz you live in or if indeed you do;News flash! I don’t think we have had 4 days of “good” weather since last summer.Can you really expect anything other than complete shell shock re this after Pike river,CCh Quakes,Flooding,Tornados,Polar blasts,etc.So just get a bag, come to our beaches & shovel something other than your unrealistic views.


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