Rena allowed to stay on reef, harmful substances to be 'discharged over time'
Permission has been granted for the Rena wreck to remain on Astrolabe Reef and for any harmful substances still on board to be discharged over time.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council released a 450-page document this afternoon, which outlines the consent and conditions of monitoring the wreck.
A commission of inquiry granted consent to “dump” the remains of Rena, its equipment and cargo on Astrolabe Reef and consent to “discharge” any harmful substances or contaminants that may occur over time as a result of the degradation of the vessel.
The decision was made by independent commissioners, retired Environment Court judge Gordon Whiting, cultural commissioner Rauru Kirikiri, marine engineer John Lumsden and environmental scientist Shane Kelly.
They went through 23 technical reports from Rena owner Daina Shipping Company and 150 submissions in response to the application to leave it on the reef.
The 37,000-tonne MV Rena hit the reef off Tauranga in October 2011, causing the country’s worst maritime environmental disaster as 350 tonnes of fuel oil leaked from the wreck.
Salvage efforts cost more than $500 million – making it the world's second most expensive after the grounding of cruise ship Costa Concordia – as crews recovered 1107 containers and 1467 cubic metres of oil from the vessel.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is not commenting on the decision at this time, due to its complexity.
Anyone who wants to appeal the decision must make a submission within 15 working days.
In 2012, Captain Mauro Balomaga and navigating officer Leonil Relon were sentenced in the Tauranga District Court to seven months in jail for breaching the Maritime Transport Act.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission found the captain and bridge crew made a number of errors which caused it to ground on the reef.
Read the judgment here
The 57 ton piece of ship - from the recovery site
This is the plywood recovered
Large piece of ship, the Hatch cover of ship
Ship wreckage and container pieces
65 ton piece of ship
Small oil slick
Stones, glass, oil, pool chemicals