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Dozens of ships breach Rena exclusion zone

Published: 2:05PM Wednesday March 06, 2013 Source: ONE News

Dozens of ships have breached the two nautical mile exclusion zone for all vessels around the Rena wreck.

The off limits area on the Astrolabe Reef off the Tauranga coast has been breached by 39 ships since the beginning of the year.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's maritime operations manager Reuben Fraser today reminded people to stay away.

"We urge people to remember that unless they have the express permission of the Harbour Master, then they can't enter the restricted area and that they may be fined for breaching that," he said.

The public would be informed if there were any changes to the zone, said Fraser, but it was too dangerous to remove it now.

"We need to ensure we have measures in place to try and keep an already variable environment as safe as possible," he said.

Work to remove more than 1000 tonnes of debris from the wreck was "progressing well", Fraser said.

The Rena struck the Astrolabe Reef off the coast off Tauranga on October 5, 2011.

The 350 tonne oil leak from the stranded container ship prompted New Zealand's biggest environmental clean up.