New Zealand oil spill 'going to get worse'

October 11, 2011 11:56

WELLINGTON - A growing oil spill from a stricken container ship sent new clumps of fuel oil on to one of New Zealand's most popular beaches on Tuesday in the country's worst environmental disaster in decades.

The 47,230-tonne Liberian-flagged Rena has been stranded on a reef 12 nautical miles off Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island since running aground last week. Heavy seas were preventing attempts to steady the vessel, making it dangerous to remain aboard.

Authorities said up to 300 tonnes of the ship's 1,700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil had already escaped. Authorities have posted bright yellow notices on beaches telling bathers to stay away and not to eat seafood.

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