WELLINGTON, New Zealand — An environmental disaster is unfolding in the Pacific after a large ship ran aground and began leaking oil next to a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Solomon Islands, Australian officials said Friday.
Footage taken this week shows little progress has been made in stopping the Solomon Trader ship from leaking oil since it ran aground Feb. 5, according to the Australian High Commission in the Solomon Islands.
UNESCO has designated the southern third of Rennell Island as a World Heritage site. It says the island is the largest raised coral atoll in the world and is a "true natural laboratory" for scientific study.
It's also home to about 2,000 people, whom the High Commission notes rely on the ocean along with the natural resources of the island for their livelihoods.
Both Australia and New Zealand have sent experts to help with the monitoring of the oil spill and the potential salvage of the ship.