PUMPING oil from the stricken 3,300 TEU Rena on the Astrolabe Reef off the New Zealand coast was to resume on Thursday this week after being abandoned due to bad weather.
Ninety tonnes of fuel has been pumped from the ship, leaving 1,300 tonnes of fuel still on board, reported London's Containerisation International. There are growing fears that the ship will break up, causing a catastrophic oil spill.
Eight-eight containers have fallen into the ocean since running aground on the Astrolabe Reef on October 5.
The salvage adviser for Maritime New Zealand Bruce Andersen told Reuters: "They have sensors on board the vessel now, which are saying that it's got about half a degree of rotation and about a degree's lift at the stern."
Thousands of volunteers, soldiers and specialist teams have taken to cleaning the polluted beaches. Oil covered debris from broken containers has been scattered as far as 250 kilometres east of Tauranga.
Owned by Costamare and chartered by MSC, the vessel's Filipino captain and navigational officer have been charged with negligence. The charge carries a maximum penalty of NZ$10,000 (US$7,900) or 12 months in prison.