Rena officers plead guilty to mishandling boxship, forging documents

2012 03 02

THE captain and second officer of the stricken 3,036-TEU containership Rena have pleaded guilty in Tauranga District Court of New Zealand for mishandling the vessel and forging documents.

Both the 44-year-old captain and 37-year-old navigation officer are Filipinos, and were charged after an investigation into the ship's collision with Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga on October 5, reported London's Containerisation International. Both men are on bail and await sentencing on May 25 They face a maximum of seven years imprisonment.

New Zealand environment minister, Nick Smith, said earlier that a "crude estimate" of MSC-chartered and Costamar-owned Rena's salvage cost was NZ$130 million (US$108 million), but the final cost is likely to be higher as the operation of removing the containers continues.

Community leaders have asked MSC Costamare bear some of the costs involved, reported New Zealand's Bay of Plenty Times.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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