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New Zealand oil spill ship captain charged
The captain of a cargo ship that has grounded off New Zealand and is leaking oil into the sea has been arrested and charged, officials say.
The captain was charged with "operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk".
The 775ft (236m) Rena ran aground on a charted reef off the North Island port of Tauranga a week ago.
Officials say the fuel oil leaking from the ship has caused the country's worst environmental disaster in decades.
Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said about 70 containers had fallen off the Rena after more bad weather overnight put the vessel into a heavy list.
The ship is carrying 11 containers of hazardous materials, MNZ said, including ferrosilicon which is flammable upon contact with water.
MNZ said the hazardous materials containers were not among those that had fallen overboard.
On Tuesday, MNZ officials said the oil spill was much worse than originally feared, with as much as 350 tonnes of estimated to have leaked from the ship.
Environment Minister Nick Smith called it "New Zealand's worst environmental disaster in many decades".
Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC
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