Rena master, officer face sentencing

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 17:47 24/05/2012
Rena captain in court
RENA CAPTAIN: Pictured at an earlier court appearance, his identity remains suppressed.

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The master and second officer of the grounded cargo ship Rena are due to be sentenced in Tauranga District Court tomorrow.

Both men faced the same charges; under the Maritime Transport Act for operating a vessel in a manner likely to cause danger, under the Resource Management Act (RMA) for discharging a contaminant and three charges under the Crimes Act for altering ship documents.

The captain also faced an  additional charge of  altering ship documents.

The Rena hit the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga last October causing an environmental disaster. A Transport Accident Investigation Commission interim report suggested the Rena took several shortcuts in the hours before it hit the reef. There were discrepancies in the captain and second officer's statements.

In late February the captain pleaded guilty to all charges against him, while the second officer admitted all charges, except the RMA charge on which he entered no plea.

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) said the second officer was expected to enter a plea on the RMA charge tomorrow.

The Crimes Act charges each carry a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

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

The Maritime Transport Act offence carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.

MNZ has also charged the owner of the Rena, Greece-based Daina Shipping Co, under sections of the RMA which relate to the discharge of harmful substances from ships in the coastal marine area.

That charge carries a maximum fine of $600,000 and $10,000 for every day the offending continues. The first call on that matter is expected tomorrow.

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