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Grounded containership, Rena, poses new Hazmat threat

According to Maritime New Zealand, the container ship came apart as two heavy swells hit it last weekend on the reef off the New Zealand port of Tauranga.

The container ship Rena is seen in two pieces after overnight bad weather pounded the vessel near Tauranga, New Zealand on Sunday. Maritime New Zealand via Getty Images

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
January 09, 2012

The latest saga in the grounding of the cargo vessel, Rena, has the government of New Zealand taking emergency actions. 

According to Maritime New Zealand, the container ship came apart as two heavy swells hit it last weekend on the reef off the New Zealand port of Tauranga.

It had been grounded there since last October.

The Liberian-flag Rena, which has a capacity of 3,361 20-foot equivalent container units, is owned by Costamare Shipping and chartered by Mediterranean Shipping

So-called “Flags of Convenience” (FOCs) have been linked to a wide range of international crime, terrorism, and human rights violations. Now, international attention is being paid to the environmental risk these vessels pose.

As reported here last fall, The Maritime Union of New Zealand was contending that the responsibility for the Rena disaster lies with Government and authorities as much as with individual crew members.

Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood said the arrest of the master of the Rena on serious charges should not deflect attention away from the greater responsibility for the disaster.

Authorities are now also on high alert for oil and hazardous chemical spills. With as many as 300 containers lost so far, the greatest concern is many may have held toxic cargo. Spokesmen said creolite from the Bluff aluminum smelter were among the goods being transported.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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