2011 10 16- Satellite-tagged whale moves into the oil slick area in the Bay of Plenty in NZ Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   
84485

81126 and 84485 (two humpback whales tagged by Dr Claire Garrigue in New Caledonia) are still proceeding down the eastern coastline of New Zealand.  84485 - a mother and calf - have now left Hauraki Gulf off Auckland and are heading down the coast along the same coastline where the shipwrecked container ship MV Rena, which went aground on the Astrolab Reef off Tauranger, has spilled subtantial quantities of its oil. This highlights the danger in real time for some of the marine mammals and wildlife caught up in this disaster. The Rena grounded on the reef near Motiti island on October 5th, 2011 and is in danger of breaking up, spilling the remainder of its oil. By Sunday, 9 October, a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) oil slick threatened wildlife and the area's rich fishing waters. MV Rena is a container ship, with her load stored on open decks. As of 13 October, the ship is listing and rocking in the waves. Over 88 containers have fallen into the sea and some have washed ashore. Some of the containers that have fallen overboard contain dangerous chemicals

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The New Zealand media has been putting the Rena grounding/shipwreck all over the front-page news there for some days. The general public worldwide would no doubt be interested in the fate of 84485 - and perhaps more importantly, on the fact that the area is part of a humpback migration route (i.e. for future near shore protection/conservation & development planning).

Also, there's the oil and gas explorations off east cape (no oil spills there, but a Brazilian company has the exploration rights for developing the field in the future). 84485 is headed that way. Deep water stuff a la Deep Horizon (and perhaps deeper).

Above is an overview of the two satellite-tagged whales moving down the eastern coastline of North Island, New Zealand. These are the 7-day tracks for both whales.