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Crews return to pump oil from New Zealand ship

October 19, 2011

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand—The weather in New Zealand has calmed enough to allow salvage crews a third attempt at pumping oil from a stricken ship.

After a three-day break due to bad weather and rough seas, the agency Maritime New Zealand says nine salvage workers reboarded the Rena and resumed pumping oil Thursday afternoon. The ship has been stuck on the Astrolabe reef near Tauranga harbor since Oct. 5 and has spilled about 350 tons of oil into the ocean.

An estimated 1,400 tons of fuel remains on board, and crews are scrambling to remove as much of it as they can before the damaged vessel falls apart or sinks. In two previous attempts, crews managed to extract about 111 tons of oil.

Maritime New Zealand says the "highly complex" operation to remove oil will take some time.

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