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Stern of stricken container ship sinks off New Zealand

Maritime New Zealand via Reuters

The bow section of the stricken container ship Rena remains above water about 14 nautical miles from Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island on April 4, 2012.

The stern of a broken-up ship that caused New Zealand's biggest sea pollution disaster sank on Wednesday after waves of up to 12 meters pounded the wreck, according to officials from Maritime New Zealand

The bow of the ship remains above water six months after it ran aground on a reef and three months after the Rena split in two.

The sinking of the stern section is likely to result in the loss of more debris and a light sheen of oil had already been seen surrounding the wreck, Maritime New Zealand said after conducting an overflight.

See more pictures of the Rena disaster on PhotoBlog.

Maritime New Zealand via EPA

The sinking stern of the Rena on April 4, 2012. The Rena ran aground on October 5, 2011, with 70 of the 1368 containers that were on board washing up on shore.

Maritime New Zealand via AFP - Getty Images

The Rena is pounded by high seas on April 4, 2012.