A cargo ship that has spilled hundreds of tons of oil since striking a reef off New Zealand's coast appeared to be breaking up in heavy seas Wednesday as its captain faced criminal charges in court. He faces a maximum penalty of $10,000 or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.
A vertical crack was apparent from the deck to the waterline of the 775-foot Liberian-flagged Rena, which ran aground Oct. 5 on Astrolabe Reef, 14 miles from Tauranga Harbour on New Zealand's North Island. About 70 containers have fallen off the deck of the vessel as it has listed increasingly in the worsening ocean conditions.
Maritime New Zealand issued a press release stating that the list on the grounded ship Rena increased and approximately 70 containers fell into the sea.