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Oil Slick

Inquiries launched into New Zealand oil slick

A container ship that ran aground off the coast of New Zealand has caused a major oil slick, endangering wildlife.

A CONTAINER SHIP that ran aground off the coast of New Zealand has created an oil slick reaching for five kilometres.

The BBC reports that the Rena ship – which has a Liberian flag – has spilled 20 – 30 tonnes of oil into the Bay of Plenty.

There are another 2,000 tonnes of oil on board the stranded ship.

The Guardian says that New Zealand prime minister John Key has launched two inquiries into the cause of the slick, which occurred in calm waters.

No one was injured when the Rena ran aground.

Maritime New Zealand released details of the response to the oil spill, saying that the operation is making good progress on a number of fronts.

A ship named the Awanuia is berthed next to the Rena and pumping oil is expected to begin today.

With weather expected to deteriorate in coming days, the response team are “working around the clock” to remove the oil, a job which is expected to take two days.

Once this is done, a team will then move the ship off the reef where it came aground.

Maritime New Zealand expects oil to come onto beaches later this week, and around 200 birds will be affected by oil coming ashore in the Papamoa area.

So far, eight birds covered in oil have been found by rescuers, and a specialist oiled wildlife response centre has been established by the National Oiled Wildlife Response Team.

The company that owns the ship, Costamere Inc, said it was working to minimise any impact to the New Zealand coastline.