Prime Minister John Key is flying into Tauranga today to view the looming environmental disaster that is the stricken container ship as anger grows over the time it has taken to respond.
The widespread criticism comes as expert crews prepare to start work cleaning up the 20 tonnes of oil estimated to have leaked out of the 236m Rena – four days after it hit Astrolabe Reef.
The fuel vessel Awanuia is due to arrive today to help offload the 2000 tonnes of oil threatening to spill into the Bay of Plenty. By tomorrow, four naval vessels will be present.
The 5km oil slick across the sea is already being cited as exposing the dangers of deep sea oil exploration.