Rena Oil Spill Affects Tauranga Beaches

Today oil has washed up on several beaches in Tauranga after spillage from the Rena container ship near Tauranga Harbour.

On the 5th of October the 236m Rena vessel struck the Astrolabe Reef.

Last night in the Rena salvage operation ten tonnes of oil were pumped from the Rena vessel into tanks aboard the Awanuia until deteriorating weather suspended the work.

The oil reported on Tauranga beaches so far include the beach near Tay Street and a beach in Mount Maunganui.

Public Health is erecting warning signs in the afflicted areas.

A Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team has been to various beaches and is now responding at Mount Maungani.

Maratime New Zealand urges the public to stay away from the water.

“People should not touch or attempt to clean up oil as it is toxic. If people see oil coming ashore please call the spill number 0800 645 774. A public health warning has been issued. No shellfish or fin fish should be eaten from waters with visible oil contamination.”

If contact with oil occurs Maratime recommends people wash immediately for their own safety.

“If you accidently come into contact with the oil wash with soap and water, baby oil or petroleum jelly. Do not use solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel or similar products on your skin. If you get the oil in your eyes, rinse with water for 15 minutes. Breathing in the vapour can cause irritation in mouth, nose, throat and lungs. Move out of the area as quickly as possible.”

Other reports of oil being found on beaches are being investigated.

Oil is expected to wash up at Papamoa Beach in the next 24 hours.

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