Rena settlement 'satisfactory', firms say

Last updated 13:13 18/06/2014

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Fifty-three businesses seeking redress for losses sustained over the Rena grounding have settled with the former containership's owners and insurers in a confidential agreement.

The settlement comes out of two days of negotiations the Rena owners and insurers Daina Shipping and The Swedish Club have been holding with claimant groups at the ASB Arena.

Business Action Group Rena spokesman Bruce Crosby said today the settlement was satisfactory, and confidential.

"It took a long time to get here," Cosby told SunLive.

"As the details are confidential I can't tell you anything else about it."

Before going into the mediation process the business said its claim totalled about $5.5 million for losses sustained after the Rena struck Astrolabe Reef on October 5, 2011.

The subsequent pollution and seaborne debris severely impacted many tourism and marine operators over the following summer of 2011-2012.

"We really only featured yesterday, and came to a satisfactory settlement," says Bruce.

"They had everybody there. There were iwi and 12 other individuals from companies doing their own thing. They were mostly mediated on the first day.

"Yesterday it was just ourselves [Rena Action Group] in the room. So we had the whole day with them and yesterday afternoon we came to a satisfactory settlement.

"There was a willingness among all parties, which was great. All parties were willing to come to an agreement and settle which was good.

"Now we can move on."

The mediation day was organised by the Rena principles as a prelude to threatened court action from the various claimant groups.

A statement from the owners and insurers' spokesperson Hugo Shanahan confirmed the owner and its insurer have reached a confidential settlement with all local business claimants and Iwi groups.

"Particulars for claims were received in February and March this year and by the 18th of March the owner had invited all claimants to mediation in a bid to expedite the compensation process.  

"The owner and its insurer are grateful to all parties involved for the constructive approach taken to bring this chapter to a close," says Hugo.

Fat Boy Charters owner Russ Hawkins is satisfied with the result reached among both the groups after a "long two days" of mediation.

"We have reached a satisfactory agreement but it's all confidential at this stage. We have reached a financial agreement," says Russ.

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"We got a result. We wanted to get a result and we are happy with the result we got."

The exact financial amount per business owner is yet to be finalised, something to be discussed and divvied up in the coming months.

"Down the track, another month or two, we'll get our share of the claim amongst all the business claimants. That will take a while to do obviously."

Tauranga Marine Charters skipper Brett Keller says the claims were pretty cut and dried.

"Most of them were pretty straightforward," says Brett.

"We made X amount the year before, and pretty much the same amount the year after - and we dropped a bundle in the middle.

"They had the whole area closed inside Motiti until late November. We couldn't go there if we wanted to. At least it's a resolution."

The owners and insurers wanted to see all businesses' financial records, says Brett. But the $5.5 million losses claimed by local businesses are "chicken feed" compared to the hundreds of millions being spent on the salvage operation on the reef.

"Last summer they spent three months where they never went out once," says Brett.

"They took off late December for Christmas and not a barge went out till late March.

"And they would all be on good money the whole time. Somebody told me there were about 50 divers. They were living on the pig's back all the way through."

Brett, who spent days outside Motiti Island fishing, believes more time could have been spent on the salvage operation on the Rena last year.

"For a long time I was fishing outside Motiti and there was a whole week of beautiful weather - they never did a thing."

- Sunlive


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