NZ Oil Spill: Large Crack Raises Fears Anew, Filipino Captain Charged (VIDEO)

By @Len_IBTimes on

 

A huge crack has appeared on the side of the stricken cargo vessel Rena and it is now in danger of sinking and endangering the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty. 

MV Rena's captain, Filipino Mauro Balomanga, has appeared in Tauranga District Court, and is now facing a charge under Section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act of operating a vessel, causing unnecessary danger or risk to a person or property.  Balomanga was celebrating his 44th birthday at the time of the crash. The charge against him carries a maximum penalty of $10,000, or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.  

TV footage has spotted the crack running down to the waterline in the port side of the ship, which is now listing heavily at 18-19 degrees Wednesday morning.

The New Zealand Herald reports up to 70 containers fell overboard Tuesday night and a container which has fallen in the water has been leaking a chemical which has reacted with the seawater.

Balomanga was granted bail, and he is scheduled to reappear on Oct. 19. The court has ordered media not to publish pictures showing his face after his lawyer expressed fears that "the public may take matters into their own hands" with anger running high. According to local reports, Balomanga had captained the ship only since March.

Maritime New Zealand issued a navigational warning to ships in the Bay of Plenty after a heavy swell and strong winds battered Rena. Spokesman Nick Bohm said other containers were still moving a lot and would "probably" also fall off the ship if rough weather continued.

 

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