As speculated earlier at InvestigateDaily, it now appears certain that the 47,000 tonne container vessel Rena is in the process of cracking up, and will sink.

TVNZ has obtained a video still from a fly past that shows a massive crack opening up in the main hull. The crack goes right through the ship.


There are more detail photos in our earlier story linked to above. Meanwhile, this just in from Maritime New Zealand tonight:

The second officer in charge of the navigational watch of the vessel Rena is facing one charge laid by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act (MTA) 1994, “for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk”.

He will appear in the Tauranga District Court tomorrow morning (Thursday 13 October).

One s65 MTA charge has been laid.

This morning, the Master of the vessel appeared in the Tauranga District Court facing the same charge. He was remanded on bail until 19 October, on the condition he surrender his passport. His name is suppressed.

The s65 charge carries a maximum penalty of $10,000, or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.

MNZ will make no further comment while the matter is before the courts.

Rena has suffered substantial structural failure, with a crack appearing in the number three cargo hold on the starboard side. This has been caused by the movement of the vessel as the stern, which has remained afloat, shifting with the waves, while the front part of the ship remains stuck on the reef.

There is a concern that the stern of the vessel may break away. The salvors have three tugs mobilised either to hold the stern on the reef while further effort is made to remove the oil, or to tow the stern to shallow water where they will remove the oil. Naval architects are working on possible scenarios. Iwi are also involved in advising on any cultural issues regarding moving or sinking the ship.

A number of containers have now come off the vessel. Those remaining continue to move, making it extremely dangerous for salvage crews to work on board. Six vessels have been mobilised to intercept the drifting debris in the water.

There will be substantial oil on the beaches, in the water and on the foreshore. This is expected to result in around 10,000 tonnes of sandy waste. There are 20 teams on the beaches, comprising about 250 people, cleaning up the oil. Four vessels are in the harbour to deal with any oil that may enter the area.

There have been 36 field teams out working on the wildlife response. The Wildlife Response Centre has 41 birds in its care – a mixture of shags, petrels, dottrels and little blue penguins. From Matakana Island to Maketu, the teams are scouring the area for oiled wildlife. Two hundred dead birds have so far been collected. Three seals are also at the wildlife facility, with two more on their way to the centre.

Community briefings are being held and there are calls for volunteers.