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MV Rena Oil Spill Data

OFF TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND:

Photo Pages 1 | 2 | 3| 4| 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 |

Richard Moore12/10/2011

On Wednesday October 5, a 236 metre container ship - the Rena - somehow managed to lodge itself at full speed on to the well-marked Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga.

Tauranga is in the beautiful Bay of Plenty and its main beaches are Papamoa, Omanu and Mount Main Beach. Around the Astrolabe Reef are wonderful fish breeding grounds, rich colonies of lobster, oysters, mussels and other seafood.

They are also pristine waters in which to see whales, dolphins, seals and orca.

Visitors and locals alike can get out in one of the many charter boats for some internationally reknown gamefishing.

Now all of those things are under threat because some moronic cretins couldn't read a map, or notice the markers, were asleep, bedding the cabin boy, or just incompetent.

For from the Rena - which has split in two - hundreds of tonnes of heavy fuel oil spewed into the ocean.

You may think I sound angry - I'm so beyond angry because Papamoa is my beach.

Every one of its 35,000 residents thinks of it as their beach.

It was pristine and I would walk on it most days.

Then it was polluted with heavy shipping fuel - a gluggy, stinky, sticky mass - and took a massive amount of work to return to a usable state.

For months it was marbled at high tide with balls of oil.

I want to talk with the Rena's captain who has pleaded guilty to numerous charges over the grounding of the Rena. Whatever his penalty it will not be enough.

As I talk to this man I will want to ram my fist into his face several times. I better have someone near me because otherwise I may not stop.

Anyway, this is my photo journal of the Rena Disaster and I think you'll find it a terrible thing to see.

But there are also positive images - of a conservation worker chasing down and saving an oil-covered penguin, the cleaning of oil-soaked wildlife and the hundreds of volunteers who worked exeptionally hard to lessen the damage done by the Rena.

It is fair to say that we in the Bay of Plenty have dodged the bullet.

- Richard Moore