Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometime you have a worse day. And sometime you crash a giant container ship into a reef in New Zealand…Yeah, that’s got to be the worst day.
This Greek owned container ship was traveling from Napier, NZ to Tauranga, NZ. Due to captain error and unknown complications the ship (known as the Rena) ran aground on the famous Astrolabe Reef.
Carrying 1,368 containers containing hazardous materials, heavy fuel oil and marine diesel, the oil spill and pollution this wreck created was absolutely devastating. Creating a 3.1 mile wide oil slick, the disaster began to reach the incredibly rich fishing waters of New Zealand. The spill was eventually declared (by Environment Minister Nick Smith) New Zealand’s worst ever maritime environmental disaster. It has taken more than 4 years to clean up and is still only 70% removed.
The ship was propelled by a single eight-cylinder Cegielski-Sulzer 8RTA76 two-stroke low-speed diesel engine, directly coupled to a fixed-pitch propeller. The main engine, which had a maximum output of 21,996 kW (29,497 hp) at 98 rpm, burned 90 tons of heavy fuel oil per day while giving the ship a service speed of 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph). For maneuvering at ports the ship was also equipped with a bow thruster. Shipboard power was generated by two 1,240-kilowatt (1,660 hp) auxiliary generating sets.