Mike and Liz Downing
Mon 17 Oct 2011 11:59
The container ship Rena is still making all the news. The storms last week caused it to list a lot more and 80 or so containers ended up in the sea. The picture below shows it's current position and it looks like a lot more containers will soon follow if the weather turns bad again, which it is forecast to do tonight. The storms resulted in more fuel oil leaking out and it reached the beaches, giving the main beach here a good coating. This is a holiday resort destination for New Zealanders and there's lots of wildlife in the area, including penguins. Over 1000 sea birds have died and rescue centres have been set up to clean those they think they can still save. It's New Zealand's worst maritime disaster. The leak of oil has been stopped and the beaches have been mostly cleaned up, but there's still a lot more fuel oil on board which may come ashore if the ship breaks up, which is likely as it now has a split down both sides. So with all the likely oil and containers, the sea is not going to be a good place to be for some time, so just as well we are still living on the boat ashore. Fingers crossed that it doesn't break up tonight, but if not tonight it's only a question of time - no one expects it to ever come off the reef in one piece. We could be here a while!
The containers are strapped together which is why they haven't fallen off, but it doesn't look like
they can stay at this angle for much longer before they do fall. (Picture courtesy of the Internet)
The other ship is the Maersk Enfield, an even bigger container ship. The Rena is 764ft long; the Maersk Enfield is a huge 1200ft long - one of the new super ships that's too big to go through the Panama Canal (Panamax ships - the maximum size that can fit into the locks - are 965ft long). When we went through the Canal we passed the construction of new locks that will, in 2014 if all goes to plan, accommodate these ships, the max size then becoming 1200ft. So why is the Maersk Enfield important to us - it contains our stuff! 3 tea-chest size boxes of things that we sent to New Zealand by ship. Its last position was in China and all being well it's due to dock in Auckland later this week.