A chartered Mediterranean Shipping Co. container ship that foundered on a reef in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty is expected to break apart in next few days,
The Rena, which struck the Astrolabe reef off the Port of Tauranga at full speed on Oct. 5, has already lost 88 containers overboard and is leaking oil and other waste that is washing up on beaches. The vessel, which MSC recently chartered from Costamare Shipping, has lost 50 metric tons of solid waste and 5 metric tons of liquid waste that has been cleaned off the beaches in the bay.
Costamare Managing Director Diamantis Manos issued a video on Wednesday in which he apologized and vowed to cooperate with the investigation. MSC said in a statement on its Web site that it is neither the owner of the Rena nor responsible for its management or the crew on board.
“MSC is following events in New Zealand very closely and shares concern with the local community in the affected region” said Captain Michele Bordiga, Chairman, of MSC Australia and New Zealand.
MSC began calling Tauranga this month with its Oceania service, which goes to Balboa, Panama and Long Beach. It doubled its services to New Zealand before the launch after significant interest from local importers and exporters.
The wreck of the Rena is causing an environmental disaster that has already become an issue in the country’s politics. Prime Minister John Key says there has been some discussion around what the liability of the owners is in terms of the cleanup. He said the provisional clean-up cost was estimated at $9.6 million.
The foundering of the Rena is similar to the 2007 incident in which the MSC Napoli, another chartered ship, ran aground off of Devon, England, spilling containers and oil all over the beaches, and eventually breaking up.