Oil spill crews are optimistic about the chances of pumping 8000 litres of diesel out of the tanks of a Northland fishing boat aground on Ninety Mile Beach.
The 22-metre Kumea ran aground in the surf at Waipapakauri on Monday night. Crew members were rescued by helicopter when the vessel began to take on water several kilometres out to sea.
The 88-tonne fishing boat is lying on its side, taking a pounding from the surf, and deputy harbourmaster Jim Lyle says it is full of sand and water, making it all but impossible to haul the vessel out in one piece.
But Mr Lyle says the council's oil response team is reasonably confident it can get on board at low tide on Wednesday evening and pump the diesel into drums.