New Zealand is warning tourists to avoid popular beaches on the North Island's east coast following an oil spill from a stricken container ship that has left the sea "highly toxic".
Oil has begun washing up on beaches at Mount Manguanui in the Bay of Plenty and tourists are being told to stay out of the water.
Efforts to remove oil from the ship, which ran aground on Astrolabe Reef five days ago, have been hampered by bad weather and there are fears that stormy weather could force the Rena to break up, releasing some potentially dangerous materials stored onboard.
By Sunday, about 10 tones of fuel oil had been pumed into safe storage, but there are still almost 1,700 tonnes onboard.
Monday, October 10, 2011