In the space of a morning, most of the giant container ship Rena has slipped beneath the waves on Astrolabe Reef.
An amazing sequence of photographs taken by Maritime New Zealand chronicles the final moments of the Rena, which ran aground in October spilling hundreds of tonnes of heavy fuel oil.
The ship has taken a battering since then, but authorities managed to pump most of the remaining fuel on board off the ship, and remove several hundred containers – although hundreds more remained on the ship.
There are now expectations following the Rena sinking that some of the remaining oil may again leak into the ocean and onto the region’s pristine beaches.
So far, the forward section of the boat remains impaled on the reef, but for how long is the unanswerable question.