By Lloyd Burr
The company which chartered the MV Rena has confirmed to Transport Minister Steven Joyce it will foot some of the clean-up bill, even though it is not legally obligated to do so.
The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) chartered the Rena from owners Costamare to transport goods around New Zealand and then on to Singapore when it hit the Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga a fortnight ago.
Mr Joyce says it is in MSC’s best interests as a “responsible corporate citizen” to foot some of the clean-up bill and encourages them to “step up”.
Two MSC managers met with Mr Joyce this morning and confirmed they will cover some of the costs of the clean-up, but wouldn’t say how much.
“We said to the Minister that we would look at a variety of options that are available…and we would get back to him in due course…We will look into that to see whatever is reasonable if we can assist in any way we can,” says MSC’s New Zealand general manager Phil Abraham.
MSC Managing Director Kevin Clarke says although the ultimate cost of the oil pollution and clean-up lies with Costamare’s insurers, MSC are “more than willing to assist and help wherever possible”.
Mr Joyce says the salvage costs will be met by Costamare and the clean-up cost is concerning which is why he is “making sure MSC are willing to make a contribution”.
“Their contribution should be there I believe because they are the shipping company that is involved, it is a ship that they had chartered and it was travelling under their flag with their goods onboard and it hit a reef outside Tauranga – I think that is enough to suggest that as a responsible corporate citizen, they would make a contribution.
“I encourage them to think very carefully [about their financial contribution], they have been here for many years, they have an involvement here of around 100 port calls per year, they are an active business here and I think the New Zealand companies and the people they deal with would want to see them stepping up,” Mr Joyce says.
“My understanding is that they will make some financial contribution and the amount is for them to assess in terms of their reputation in this country and the way New Zealanders feel about what has happened and they will have to make an assessment as to what they think is appropriate.”
Both Mr Clarke and Mr Abraham will travel to Tauranga this afternoon to see the disaster first-hand.
Click 'view video' to watch this morning's full press conference.