The Rena
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New Zealand oil leak sparks major salvage operation

A major salvage operation is under way off the coast of New Zealand, after a container ship ran aground, causing several tonnes of oil to leak into the sea.

The maritime authorities in New Zealand believe at least 10 tonnes of oil have already seeped from the Rena.

This has created a 5km-long (3 miles) oil slick from the 47,000-tonne container ship.

Several naval vessels have been sent to assist the salvage operation which has been hampered by poor weather.

If the ship breaks up, it could release 1,700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the Bay of Plenty, home to whales, dolphins, seals, penguins and a variety of other birds.

Duncan Kennedy reports.

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