October 13 - According to Maritime New Zealand, the containership that ran aground last week on Astrolabe Reef near Tauranga Harbour is leaking more oil, losing containers, and has developed a crack in its hull.

The government organisation said the Rena "has suffered substantial structural failure, with a crack appearing in the number three cargo hold on the starboard side. This has been caused by the movement of the vessel as the stern, which has remained afloat, shifting with the waves, while the front part of the ship remains stuck on the reef."

It added "there is a concern that the stern of the vessel may break away. The salvors have three tugs mobilised either to hold the stern on the reef while further effort is made to remove the oil, or to tow the stern to shallow water where they will remove the oil.

"A number of containers have now come off the vessel. Those remaining continue to move, making it extremely dangerous for salvage crews to work on board. Six vessels have been mobilised to intercept the drifting debris in the water."

HLPFI understands that both the master of the ship and the second officer in charge of the navigational watch of the vessel have been charged under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act, "for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk."