Salvage operations on board the wreck of the Rena have come to an end.
The cargo ship hit the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga last October, resulting in New Zealand's worst environmental disaster.
Within days salvage teams were working on the ship to remove the 1,368 containers that it carried, and try to prevent its 1300 tonnes of oil leaking into the sea.
Aside from 18 inaccessible containers in the bow section, all containers have now been removed from the ship, a month ahead of schedule.
Salvage company Svitzer and the owners of the crane barge that has removed containers, Smit, have been packing up the large amount of boats, staff and equipment this week in preparation to leave the Bay of Plenty this weekend.
The Rena is to be left on the reef over winter, but the company responsible for retrieving lost containers and removing any debris which comes ashore, Braemar Howells, will monitor the wreck and patrol the exclusion zone.
Around 267 containers have been reported as falling off the ship during storms, or when the stern section broke away on the reef.
Responsibility for removing the wreck lies with the ship's owners, Costamare Shipping, and a tender process has been started to find someone to carry out the job.
The total cost of the disaster is not known but it had already cost more than $130 million by February. The Government said it plans to retrieve any taxpayers' money spent on the disaster from the ship's owners.
The captain and navigation officer of the Rena were sentenced to seven months behind bars last month.
Source: ONE News