Rena’s Captain and Navigation Officer Get Seven Months (New Zealand)

Rena's Captain and Navigation Officer Get Seven Months (New Zealand)

The captain and navigation officer of the grounded Costamare boxship Rena have been jailed for seven months in New Zealand.

Master Mauro Balomaga and colleague Leonil Relon lost their court-imposed anonymity as the verdicts were handed down in Tauranga District Court on Friday.

In late February, Balomaga pleaded guilty to all charges against him, while Relon admitted all charges, except a Resource Management Act (RMA) charge on which he entered no plea.

Both men were accused of operating a vessel in a manner likely to cause danger, discharging a contaminant and three instances of altering ship documents.

The captain also faced an additional charge of altering ship documents.

The judge said: “This was an event unlike this country has ever seen.”

In sentencing the judge took into account that the men are foreign nationals, that they have been away from their families for a long time and that they have been on remand for months.

The Rena hit the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga last October, causing what is viewed in New Zealand as an environmental disaster.

The two Filipinos were supported by 15 people in court and many could be seen crying following the sentencing, TV reports said.

Greek manager Costamare said it would continue to meet “its responsibilities, as their employer, to ensure their welfare and that of their families, as they complete their sentences.

“The Rena owners and our insurers continue to be closely involved in managing the response to the grounding, especially through the activities of our salvage and recovery teams.

“There are many complex legal, environmental and community issues still to be resolved from the grounding and we are committed to working with all affected parties to achieve a satisfactory conclusion.”

The court was told that the men crew had not complied with “basic navigation practices” before the ship ran aground and that the ship had altered course during the day leading up to the grounding, with attempts made to cover it up.

The prosecution said Rena’s navigation officer cut every possible corner and never plotted the vessel’s actual location.

And when Astrolabe Reef did show up on the Rena’s radar the captain’s only response was to order a quick lookout, then assuming it was a false reading, he asked for more speed.

The actions, or lack of actions, reveal a theme of fundamental incompetence,” prosecutor Rob Ronayne said.

After the grounding the crown said the pair changed navigation charts and lied to investigators for more than a month until a forensic examination of the Rena’s GPS showed it had been tampered with.

“The creation of the falsehoods was deliberate and must have been planned,” Ronayne said.

Maritime New Zealand has also charged the owner, Greece’s Daina Shipping Co, over the discharge of harmful substances.

Source: InterManager, May 25, 2012; Image: Maritime NZ

Share this article

Follow World Maritime News

In Depth>

Events>

<< Nov 2017 >>
MTWTFSS
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 1 2 3

Maritime Information Warfare 2017

Maritime Information Warfare will focus on the growing need for navies to develop their information exploitation capabilities…

read more >

INTERNATIONAL GREEN SHIPPING AND TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT

The Summit will gather key marine experts and companies around the globe which have a big influence in the industry…

read more >

The CWC 18th Annual World LNG Summit & Awards Evening

The CWC World LNG Summit will continue to give you access to premium networking opportunities as it brings together the who’s who…

read more >

Marintec China 2017

The largest maritime event in Asia Pacific, Marintec China connects maritime professionals from the entire shipbuilding supply chain together.

Over the years, Marintec China has grown to reflect the size and importance of the Asian maritime market. 2015 event is another record-breaking edition with the largest exhibition area and the highest number of industry professionals attending ever. The encouraging figures proven that China remains one of the major shipbuilding nations and Marintec China has been the most authoritative platform in Asia.

With the maritime industry facing great opportunities but also many challenges, it is important for the industry to connect and engage more to ultimately win new business in globally-significant markets. A visit to Marintec China is a great way to learn about the latest technology and innovation of the supply industry, a platform for industry professional to meet face to face, make connection and do business.

Marintec China is poised to be the definitive event and is undoubtedly a must-attend for all involved in the maritime industry.

Marintec China will be held from 5 to 8 December 2017 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in Shanghai, China and continue its dedication to serve as the “LEADING” platform “CONNECTING” the community and “STRENGTHENING” the maritime industry.

Marintec China offers the perfect opportunity for companies serving the maritime market to showcase their innovations, products and services to a wide audience. A platform for face to face meetings in business, creating new relationships and consolidating existing ones.

More info

read more >