Rena breaks in half

On October 5th 2011, the ship, the “Rena”, hit a reef coming into the Port of Tauranga. The ship was carrying 1300 containers. Many containers fell into the sea and heavy oil spilled from the ship and reached the beaches. Last week, there were still 830 containers remaining on the ship. Most of the oil has been removed from the ship and the beaches.

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The “Rena” broke in half today. This was not surprising because the weather was stormy and the sea was rough. The waves were 6m high last night. The rough sea could continue until Wednesday.

The two halves of the ship are now about 20 to 30m apart. It is possible the back half, the stern, could sink. 200 to 300 containers fell into the sea. About 20% of them will float but the rest will sink. Some containers may float to the beach or out to sea. Containers which are hidden in the water are dangerous for other ships. Small boats have to keep away from the area, and large ships which are arriving or leaving the port have to take extra care.

Nothing can be done to the ship until the weather improves.


spill – liquid falls by accident e.g. Be careful. Don’t spill your coffee on the floor.
remove – take away
improve – get better
heavy oil – opposite is light oil
rough sea – opposite is calm sea
float – opposite is sink
apart – opposite is together

Useful phrases:
There were still X remaining; there are still 358 days remaining this year.
Nothing can be done


Showing possibility: could continue, could sink, may float
Showing necessity: have to keep away, have to take extra care


It is not surprising – we are not surprised

There are many adjectives in English like this e.g. It is interesting, I am interested
Here are some others: amazing/ amazed; astonishing/ astonished; tiring/ tired; fascinating / fascinated; frightening / frightened

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