Astrolabe Reef

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Not to be confused with Great Astrolabe Reef.
Map of New Zealand with marker in bay of northern island
Map of New Zealand with marker in bay of northern island
Location of Astrolabe Reef.

Coordinates: 37°33′37″S 176°23′47″E / 37.56039°S 176.396466°E / -37.56039; 176.396466

Astrolabe Reef is near Motiti Island, off the Bay of Plenty coast in New Zealand. The reef, which breaks the water surface at low tide, is a renowned scuba diving spot that drops off to 37 metres (121 ft) in different parts.[1] The reef was named by Jules Dumont d'Urville after his ship Astrolabe, when it nearly ran aground there on 16 February 1827.[2]

Grounding of Rena[edit]

Main article: Rena oil spill

On Wednesday, 5 October 2011, the container ship MV Rena ran aground on the reef. By Sunday, 9 October, a 5-kilometre (3.1 mi) oil-slick threatened wildlife and the area's rich fishing waters. By 13 October the ship had started to list and rock in the waves. Over 88 containers, some containing dangerous chemicals, fell into the sea and some washed ashore.[3] The wreck broke in two during stormy weather on 7 January 2012.

See also[edit]


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