Rena compo could be limited
The owners and insurers of the Rena expect compensation claims made in this country for losses resulting from the shipwreck will be met from a fund totalling around $11.5 million, while a maximum of around $27 million is available for claims made in Britain.
Matters covered by that compensation include loss, damage or delay causing loss, or the infringement of rights caused by the grounding of the Rena off Tauranga, last October.
But a lawyer acting for claimants in this country said efforts to limit the amount available for claims from New Zealand would be opposed.
Public notices being published advise affected parties they have until December 21 to file claims in Britain, or to challenge the so-called general limitation decree under which the Admiralty Court of England and Wales set the maximum of around $27m for compensation in that country.
Robert Makgill, a director of North South Environmental Law, said limitation meant that for certain types of claims resulting from the Rena, the owners and insurers could limit their liability.
"The claimants I act for will be seeking to oppose any limitations in respect of claims that might be brought by New Zealand claimants," he said.
He also noted that "probably very few" New Zealand claimants would be able to afford to make a claim in Britain.
A spokesman for owners Daina Shipping and insurers The Swedish Club said proceedings had been held in London because cargo on board the Rena was carried under English law.
The Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims set out a formula for calculating the maximum liability of an owner for specific categories of claims. The amount was calculated by reference to vessel tonnage, he said.
On top of the British proceedings, the owners and insurers intended to establish a similar fund in New Zealand in the near future. It would facilitate compensation for small claimants, without them having to deal with the expense and complexity of filing in London. It was likely to have a liability limit of around $11.5m.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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