BusinessDesk: Up to 300 containers from Rena pose potential shipping hazard

BusinessDesk: Up to 300 containers from Rena pose potential shipping hazard

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 NZ$10.12 on Friday, having reached a record high NZ$10.20 the previous day on news that Fonterra 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 Nov. 18.

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Auckland port is much safer to dock, but getting the containers off the ship is another matter!

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