Brian White | October 12, 2011 | Maritime Law
There has been a new environmental disaster in New Zealand, where a ship was the cause of a leakage of an impressive amount of oil into the ocean. This happened when the ship crashed with a reef on the coast of the country, dropping about 70 containers filled with Diesel and oil.
The crack in the vessel’s hull is becoming bigger as ocean conditions worsen. Crewmembers managing the boat stated that the crack was a structural failure with the possibility of the stern breaking away.
With this new threat, efforts are being implemented to remove the oil from the ship, among these include to tow the stern to shallow water and send tug boats to hold the stern on the reef. Nonetheless, the swell conditions were making it impossible for a salvage crew to come aboard the ship and pump the oil out. This might only be possible when the swells ease down at which point, a new crew will be sent out to board the ship.
The containers that still remain on deck move continuous with the ocean so it makes it very difficult for a salvage crew to work aboard the unseaworthy vessel. Some of these containers aboard the ship are filled with extremely hazardous substances, and even though those were not among the ones that fell into the ocean water, there is a high possibility one of them will as weather conditions in the ocean do not improve.
The captain of the ship was charged with causing unnecessary danger or risk while operating a vessel, but in the meantime, New Zealand’s priority is to clean up the oil which has already reached beaches and will also spread significantly as the oil washes ashore within the next couple of days.
We are all wondering why the ship crashed into the reef in clear weather. No response or explanation has yet been given. Perhaps White Wizard Saruman is involved? The Maritime authorities in New Zealand estimate that the tons of heavy fuel oil are already in the hundreds; which concludes it to be New Zealand’s biggest environmental disaster.
There have reportedly been about 200 dead oiled birds and a few others have been cleaned by the wildlife emergency center.