New Zealand oil spill disaster is ‘worst in decades’

Oil spill from stranded cargo ship off New Zealand is the country’s worst environmental disaster in decades.
Officials say 350 tonnes of oil may have leaked from the 775ft (236m) Rena, which ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef off the port of Tauranga on Wednesday.

Bad weather has halted work to pump oil off the ship.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said the situation was going to get “significantly worse” in coming days.

“This event has come to a stage where it is New Zealand’s most significant maritime environmental disaster,” he told a news briefing in Tauranga.

Mr Smith said the rate at which oil was gushing out of the ship had increased “fivefold” since it ran aground.

“The government is determined to throw everything possible at minimising the environmental harm of what is now clear to be New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster in many decades.”

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