Rena containers spark shipping warning

By Nick Gray

Have you seen debris wash up from the Rena this morning? Email us your pics and info: yournews@nzherald.co.nz

A container lies in the surf, and bags believed to be containing milk powder, litter the sand at Waihi Beach. Photo / Sam Anderson
A container lies in the surf, and bags believed to be containing milk powder, litter the sand at Waihi Beach. Photo / Sam Anderson

Ships arriving and departing from Port of Tauranga have been warned to be extra vigilant as an estimated 200-to-300 containers remain unaccounted for at sea following the break-up of the Rena.

The port channels are currently being monitored, using side-scanning sonar and magnetometer sweeping, looking for the containers lost when the Rena split, according to statement on the company's website.

Michele Poole, a spokeswoman at Maritime New Zealand says the containers are believed to contain milk powder, timber, plastics and furniture.

Ships wishing to lay anchorage off the port have been asked to drift north of Mayor Island.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns is currently being briefed on the situation at the Incident Coordination Centre, with a detailed media release expected at 11am this morning and a press conference at 3pm.

Shares of Port of Tauranga fell 0.8 percent to $10.12 on Friday, having reached a record high $10.20 the previous day on news that Fonterra Cooperative Group has joined container line Maersk in moving its business from Ports of Auckland, where operations are being disrupted by strikes.

The Rena had 1,368 containers aboard when it became initially grounded, with 89 previously lost overboard and 282 removed since the recovery began on November 18.

- BusinessDesk

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