“Rena” Disaster

Listen to the last two items on this website for background to the Rena disaster.

The disaster from the broken ship Rena is getting worse. There is a crack in the middle of the ship which means it will sink. Salvage workers hope the back part – the stern – will either float into shallow water before it sinks or will get stuck on the reef like the front part – the bow.

At the moment, there are two dangers – oil in the water and some containers floating in the sea. Every high tide leaves thick, smelly oil on the beach and it is killing wildlife. The beach is closed to local people while the army is cleaning up the oil but more than 1000 volunteers want to help too.

Eighty-eight containers fell off the ship. The waves carried some containers to the beach and broke some of them, spilling their contents in the water and on the sand. The Tauranga harbour is closed tonight because of the danger from floating objects in the water.

Commercial fishing boats cannot go to sea because they could hit a container. Also some fish may be affected by the oil. Maori living on the island of Motiti usually eat food from the sea but now they cannot do this.

The beaches in Tauranga with their beautiful white sand are very popular with swimmers, surfers and walkers. Local people are very upset by this disaster which could close the beaches this summer.

disaster – a terrible happening
salvage – saving a ship and its cargo
shallow – not deep
commercial fishing – people who catch fish to sell; this is their job

Make a list of questions you would like to ask the captain of the ship or salvage workers. You could write some of these questions as a comment.

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