Mayday Call from Stricken New Zealand Tanker

| Mon Oct. 10, 2011 6:16 PM EDT

TVNZ reports a full mayday call has gone out from the stricken tanker MV Rena, requesting an immediate helicopter rescue of all crew remaining aboard.

The ship—grounded on a reef off the coast of New Zealand since last Wednesday—is now believed to be breaking up in heavy weather. The Rena carries 1,700 cubic meters/450,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil (see my earlier post). From TVNZ:

'The ship has spilled between 10 and 50 tonnes of oil so far and more has been seen leaking from the vessel and heading south-west. The barge which is being used to pump oil off the ship was damaged overnight and has returned to the port for repairs. It will sail again once it is fixed and the weather improves.'

Check out this The Guardian slideshow for more images of the worsening spill.

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