Rena owners to pay $27m compensation
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 10:07a.m.
The owners of the Rena, which grounded off the Tauranga coast, will pay the Government $27.6 million in compensation.
A further $10 million will be added if the ship’s wreck can be left where it is.
The ship crashed into the Astrolabe Reef last October and broke up in the following months, spilling hundreds of litres of oil becoming New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster.
Salvage efforts are still underway and the Rena’s owners have this morning revealed their financial settlement to be shared among a number of Government agencies.
Those who will receive a portion of the payout are Maritime New Zealand, Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Environmental Protection Agency, and the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Motiti Island bore the brunt of the ship’s debris and will be compensated through the office of the Minister of Local Government David Carter.
So far, the disaster has cost the Government $47 million and, under New Zealand laws, the company was only required to pay $11.3 million.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says the settlement is a “constructive negotiation” which avoids costly court action.
Mr Brownlee says new legislation should be in place early next year which would “substantially” increase the amount of compensation paid if a disaster like this happens again.
The remaining wreck of the Rena could remain on the reef if the shipping company managed to get resource consent.
In this scenario, a further $10.4 million would be given to the Government for the reduced cost of salvage.
But Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby says some locals won't welcome that prospect.
“There will be concern about the issue of remnants of the Rena being left in the Astrolabe by some members of the community.”
He says he's also concerned about compensation for local businesses affected by the Rena.
“I for one, and I'm sure a number of others, would like to see those who have lost out commercially are adequately compensated for their losses.”
And he's hoping the Rena isn't the only thing salvaged.
“I think one of the critical elements is our international reputation is restored, it took an absolute hammering last summer,” Mr Crosby says.
Daina Shipping Company spokesperson Konstantinos Zacharatos says the settlement tries to address all aspects of the grounding.
“This settlement is a vital step forward in our progressive resolution of all the issues, and I want to thank the New Zealand authorities for all of their work that has gone into achieving this outcome.”
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