Stricken ship in two pieces

1:03 pm on 2 January 2012

Maritime New Zealand has confirmed a stricken container ship off Tauranga is now in two pieces.

The Rena remains firmly grounded on the Astrolabe reef, off Tauranga, where it has been stuck since 5 October last year.

The agency says divers will examine the undersides once weather and sea conditions improve. It says the container ship may still be joined underneath.

Spokesperson Bruce Fraser says Maritime New Zealand does not think the ship will disintegrate now that is in two pieces, but weather conditions could change that.

Mr Fraser says there are barges on stand-by in the area and if the ship breaks up, they are planning to tow it away.

He says there does not appear to have been a significant amount of oil spilled as a result of the latest damage to the Rena.