‘Massive’ oil spill clean-up underway in New Zealand

Story highlights

Teams have cleaned oil from 17 kilometers of coastline in Bay of Plenty

200 dead birds have been found; 47 oiled animals being treated

Government: Spill is country's most significant maritime environmental disaster

Rena cargo ship began leaking oil after hitting reef off New Zealand's North Island

CNN  — 

A major clean-up operation is underway along the north coast of New Zealand ‘s North Island as debris and oil leaking from a cargo ship that ran aground on a reef wash ashore, officials say.

The Rena, a Liberian-flagged vessel, struck the Astrolabe Reef, about 12 nautical miles off the city of Tauranga, last week.

New Zealand’s oil spill response agency, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ), estimates that as much as 300 tonnes of fuel oil has leaked from the vessel, which was carrying 1,700 cubic meters (450,000 gallons) of fuel.

The country’s environment minister, Nick Smith, has called the spill the country’s most significant maritime environmental disaster.