The grounded container ship Rena has started to break up but remains firmly wedged on the Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga in New Zealand.
The ship, which ran onto the reef at full speed on Oct. 5, split in two over the weekend, according to Maritime New Zealand. Swells of up to 15 feet have widened a gaping crack in the ship's hull.
The ship had been expected to break up long before now, but it has held together under water.
The Liberian-flag Rena, which has a capacity of 3,361 20-foot equivalent container units, is owned by Costamare Shipping and chartered by Mediterranean Shipping.
At the time of the grounding, the ship lost some 200 containers overboard and tons of bunker fuel, which created New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster.
Salvage operations has been going on since October, as salvors pull containers from the deck and through a hole in the ship’s side. Two more containers fell overboard over the weekend and a further nine were missing after bad weather put a halt to container removal operations on Monday.
Light oil sheens were seen coming from the bow and stern of the ship, with an unknown quantity of oil still on board.