Clean up operation after spill
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New Zealand oil spill threatens ecological catastrophe

11 October 2011 Last updated at 20:08 BST

An oil spill from a stranded cargo ship off New Zealand has become the country's worst maritime environmental disaster, the government has said.

Officials say 350 tonnes of oil may have leaked from the 775ft (236m) Rena, which ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef off the port of Tauranga on Wednesday.

Residents close to vulnerable coastlines have been told to stay away from the shore and not touch the heavy globs of oil, which the authorities say are toxic.

Dan Roan reports.