Perverting justice charges laid against Rena officers

Press Release – Maritime New Zealand

Further charges have been laid today by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) against the Master and Second Officer of the cargo vessel Rena .Rena update #137
• Nine containers were removed from Rena yesterday, meaning a total of 252 containers have been removed since container removal began on 16 November.

• This morning, the crane barge Smit Borneo will be repositioned on the starboard side of Rena. This repositioning will take most of the morning but container removal from the starboard side is expected to recommence this afternoon.

• Weather conditions are forecast to remain fine over Christmas with light winds from the northeast, turning east later and the swell dropping.

• Braemar Howells advises that 256 containers, which include those removed from Rena by the Svitzer salvage team, and those recovered from the water, have now been landed ashore for processing.

• A container recovery team went to Mōtītī Island yesterday and removed 4-5 skips of debris from the beach. Container debris was spotted five nautical miles north of Whangamata yesterday and retrieved.

• The oil spill response aerial observation team noted an oil sheen seen yesterday west of Mōtītī was not visible this morning. A narrow band of metallic rainbow sheen is visible for a couple of kilometres north west of Rena.

• Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Teams will be working towards Pāpāmoa today. Rock washing continues on Mauāo, along with hand cleaning at Matakana. At Mōtītī, the focus will be on the western side to prepare areas for the next bird release. Oiled debris was found at Kaituna yesterday by the river mouth.

• A wildlife team surveyed Mōtītī’s south western end overnight but found no oiled penguins. Thirteen clean birds were seen.

• The wildlife teams will be helping with rock washing today.
Perverting course of justice charges laid against Rena officers

Further charges have been laid today by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) against the Master and Second Officer of the cargo vessel Rena.

The men, whose names and identities are suppressed, have been charged under S117(e) & 66 of the Crimes Act, which allege they “wilfully attempted to pervert the course of justice” by altering ship’s documents subsequent to the grounding on Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga on 5 October.

The master faces four charges under the Act, and the Second Officer (Navigation) three charges.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment.

Both men already each face one charge under section 338 (1B) and (15B) of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) relating to the “discharge of harmful substances from ships or offshore installations”

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

They also both face one charge each under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994 (MTA), “for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk”.

The MTA charge carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.

Both men appeared today in the Tauranga District Court and were remanded on bail without plea on all charges until 29 February 2012.

MNZ will make no further comment while the matter is before the courts.

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