Noxious fumes from the rotting cargo aboard a ship marooned on a New Zealand reef pose the latest obstacle to salvage crews trying to remove oil.
The ship Rena this week survived stormy weather as experts anxiously waited to see if the badly damaged vessel would split in two. But now that the sea has calmed enough to allow crews back on board, they are facing a stink.
Maritime New Zealand said in a statement Thursday that environmental officers are on board to assess the fumes from 121 containers holding perishable food which the agency said started to decompose "some time ago."
The Rena ran aground Oct. 5 near Tauranga Harbor in the North Island, spilling about 385 tons of oil into the ocean. Crews are racing to remove the remaining oil before the boat falls apart.