“Obviously, something went very wrong,” states Diamantis Manos, managing director for the company that owns the R/V Rena. Twelve days ago the 775′ Rena wrecked off New Zealand. Since then it has spilled more than 350 tons of crude oil and 88 containers, prompting New Zealand’s Environment Minister to categorize it as his country’s worst maritime environmental disaster. Unfortunately, more than 1,300 tons of oil (salvage crews have managed to pump only 21 tons off the stricken vessel so far) and more than a thousand containers, including several holding toxic and hazardous materials, remain onboard. Salvage crews have been working around the clock. The most recent weather forecast is not promising–50 knot winds and 12′ seas–raising fears that the Rena could break apart. That would be a truly epic environmental disaster. Let’s hope the Rena weathers this storm.
As seems to be the case these days, The Atlantic has already posted a fantastic series of images here, which includes the picture heading this post. My personal favorite would have to be this one: