About 150 containers have been lost overboard the Rena after the stranded ship broke in two off New Zealand’s Tauranga coast during a weekend storm.
Salvors initially thought up to 300 containers were lost overboard.
Meanwhile, despite forecast calmer weather, experts still fear the Rena’s stern could tip, spilling more containers into the sea.
“It’s pivoting around a rock,” Maritime New Zealand safety adviser Jon Walker said at a press conference in Tauranga on Monday.
“With a little bit of movement it could tip.”
The Rena had been stuck on the Astrolabe Reef since October.
The clean-up team at Waihi Beach is focusing on removing four containers which washed ashore on Monday, spilling their contents. Cranes and tractors are at the scene.
Another seven containers are within 1.6km of the shoreline.
Hundreds of large milk powder packets have already been removed, as well as other debris, including polystyrene.
“It’s devastating, to be honest,” said Waihi local and community board member Derek Mills after watching plastic bags and piles of polystyrene spill onto the picturesque shoreline.
Debris could continue to wash ashore until Thursday between Waihi Beach and Mercury Bay.
Waihi Beach was closed on Monday morning.
An exclusion zone of three nautical miles around Rena has been put in place and Maritime New Zealand was urging all boaties to be on the look out for floating debris.