2 Nov 2011

No new damage found on Rena

12:41 pm on 2 November 2011

A surveillance flight over the container ship grounded off the coast of Tauranga has found no new visible damage.

Rough seas and new fractures found on the Rena on Tuesday had prompted fears the vessel may break up overnight.

The ship has been stuck on Astrolabe Reef for four weeks.

Maritime New Zealand says the ship remains intact and no further containers have fallen overboard.

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Spokesperson Sophie Hazelhurst says there is a light oil sheen of oil around the ship but the release is not significant and appears to be continuing seepage from the duct keel.

The surveillance flight over the ship on Wednesday morning was delayed for several hours because of fog.

A salvage crew spent the night on board a tug near the Rena monitoring the vessel.

Ms Hazelhurst says salvors are hoping to go back on board on Wednesday afternoon but that is dependent on the weather.

Svitzer Salvage spokesperson Matthew Watson says the salvors will return to the ship as soon as it is safe.

He says the salvage team will try to install a safe dry passage to the starboard fuel tank that's underwater so the remaining 359 tonnes of oil on board can be removed.

Metservice says rough conditions are expected to continue for much of Wednesday although the wind may ease slightly as it turns from northeast to northwest.