MV Rena’s Wreck to Remain on Astrolabe Reef

The wreck of the containership MV Rena, which grounded on Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga in October 2011, will be left in place along with its cargo and equipment, according to New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

The council has granted its consent to “dump” the remains of the 47,230 dwt vessel and to discharge any harmful substances or contaminants from the 1990-built MV Rena that may occur over time as a result of the degradation of the vessel.

Namely, the vessel’s Greek owners, Daina Shipping, asked for the permission to leave the ship on the reef two years ago. While they were given consent to do so, the owners will now have to remove debris from the wreck down to 30 meters, undertake strict ongoing monitoring of the environment, pay initial USD 6.35 million bond for the 10-year consent period and set up a consulting group.

An independent hearing panel, which lasted for 20 days, was enlisted to consider and decide on the application, with more than 150 submissions received in response to the application.

The vessel’s owners, who already spent over USD 500 million on cleaning efforts, said that the wreck no longer poses risk to the environment.

Subject to weather conditions, the final debris clean-up operations should conclude in March, after which a review of the two nautical mile exclusion zone will be undertaken.

The 2011 grounding saw MV Rena spill more than 300 tonnes of oil into the Bay of Plenty, causing what has been described as “New Zealand’s worst maritime environmental disaster”.

World Maritime News Staff

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