Crews remove debris from Coromandel shoreline

12:09 pm on 10 April 2012

A full-scale clean up has begun of debris from the cargo ship Rena that has washed up on rocky and difficult to reach areas of the Coromandel's east coast.

The ship has been stranded on Astrolabe reef off Tauranga since October last year.

Heavy seas in Bay of Plenty last week pushed the wreck's broken-off stern section under water, releasing more containers, debris and oil.

Over Easter, debris ranging from milk powder and wheelbarrow parts to millions of small plastic beads started washing ashore along the Coromandel coastline, from Pauanui to north of Whitianga.

Thames Coromandel District Council operations manager Greg Hampton says the major beaches have been cleaned up, and on Tuesday teams from the company Braemar Howells were removing debris from other areas of the shoreline.

"I think you're probably talking about 75 percent of the coastline (that) would be the rocky inaccessible areas, so it is still a major job to clean up."

Mr Hampton suspected sightings of oil at Mercury Bay are being investigated.