Ship disaster officers admit guilt in grounding

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The master and second officer of the cargo vessel Rena on Wednesday pleaded guilty to 10 out of the 11 charges laid by Maritime New Zealand against the men following an investigation into the ship's grounding Oct. 5 on the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga.

Maritime New Zealand charged both men on Oct. 12 under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994, “for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk”.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.
Further charges were laid against each man on Nov. 2 under section 338 (1B) and (15B) of the Resource Management Act 1991 relating to the “discharge of harmful substances from ships or offshore installations”.

The RMA charge carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $300,000, or two years’ imprisonment, and $10,000 for every day the offending continues.

On Dec. 21, both men were also charged under S117(e) & 66 of the Crimes Act, alleging they “wilfully attempted to pervert the course of justice” by altering ship’s documents subsequent to the grounding.

Click here for the full press release from Maritime New Zealand and click here for a report by Radio New Zealand.