Boaties and beachgoers face fresh warnings as containers, timber and milk powder spill from the split ship Rena.
Swells of up to 6m pounded the vessel overnight, tearing apart the separated stern and front section of the ship teetering on the Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Mt Maunganui.
The two pieces of the vessel are now up to 30m apart, and a large amount of containers and debris has spilled from the ship overnight.
Fears are mounting further oil could leak.
The vessel ran aground the reef on October 5, spilling hundreds of tonnes of oil and containers into the ocean which took months of clean-up efforts. Spilt oil killed hundreds of birds.
Just last week the ship was pounded by bad weather, causing it to break into two pieces which remained firmly on the reef.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has issued navigational warnings for shipping and boat users to avoid new hazards fallen from the ship.
Floating containers have been found northwest of the Rena. A large amount of debris has been sighted downwind of the vessel, and more is expected to wash ashore beaches today.
The debris includes timber and bags of milk powder.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council water management group manager Eddie Grogan said the regional council was currently reassessing the three nautical mile exclusion zone around the Rena.
“We will provide more information once we’ve assessed the situation, however we anticipate the exclusion zone will be increased,”‘ he said.
He said while the conditions might be good for surfers, people should be aware that a large amount of debris is in the water.
“We’re asking people to be conscious of the hazards and to be sensible and careful.”
The National Response Team has been activated to respond to the potential release of oil from the ship and treat any affected wildlife.
Weather conditions continued to be poor, with severe weather expected to pound the area for the next three to four days.
Anyone sighting of oil or containers in the water are asked to phone 0800 645 774.
Anyone found in the exclusion zone without the express permission of the harbourmaster may be fined $200 or could be prosecuted.
Photos / Daniel Phillips via WeatherWatch.co.nz,
Story by Nzherald