THE owners of the Rena, the container ship that grounded off the Tauranga coast last year, have been fined $300,000 for discharging harmful substances.
Daina Shipping admitted the charge in the Tauranga District Court, and also pleaded guilty to a Resource Management Act charge.
The guilty plea was welcomed by Maritime New Zealand.
The grounding of the Rena was New Zealand’s biggest maritime environmental disaster after oil and containers spilled into the sea after it hit Astrolabe Reef.
“The guilty plea by the owners has led to this case being resolved in a timely fashion and that is to be welcomed,” MNZ director Keith Manch told Fairfax NZ.
“The completion of this prosecution marks another step in the response to the grounding of the Rena.
“There remains a lot of work to be done in the recovery process and MNZ continues to oversee the wreck removal process.”
The Rena was carrying materials defined as harmful substances or contaminants such as heavy fuel oil and other oils, 32 containers of dangerous goods, including 40 tonnes of hydrogen peroxide, 23 tonnes of alkylsulphonic acid, 500 tonnes of ferro-silicon, 5.4 tonnes of trichloroisocyanuric acid, and 24 tonnes of potassium nitrate.
There was also bulk wine, operational waste, animal pelts, dairy products, fabrics, cement and machinery parts, and 121 containers or perishable foodstuffs.
In May the Rena’s captain and navigation officer were sentenced to seven months in jail after admitting 11 charges related to the grounding.
Salvage work continues on the Rena, and debris is still being collected from the seabed and beaches in the area.
IMAGE: Maritime New Zealand