Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Rena - New charges laid against Master and 2/O

Photo: LOC and Maritime NZ

Story today from the Bay of Plenty's SunLive. The Master and Second Officer have been charged with 'flogging the log'...

New charges laid against Rena pair

Posted at 9:59am Wednesday 21st Dec, 2011 By Letitia Atkinson

The two sailors facing charges related to the grounding of the Rena on the Astrolabe Reef are each facing new charges related to obstructing/perverting the course of justice. The captain and Navigation officer in court on November 2. Their interim name suppression is continuing. The 236m container ship’s captain and navigation officer appeared in the Tauranga District Court this morning where the new charges were laid.

The charges are under sections 117(e) and 66 of the Crimes Act and are for allegedly altering ship documents subsequent to the Rena’s grounding on October 5. The captain, or master, faces four new charges and the navigation officer three charges, with each charge carrying a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment. Further details about why the new charges were laid were not revealed in court as the Crown requires a time extension to allow new documents to be filed.

The men are also charged under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 for operating a vessel in a manner likely to cause danger and under the Resource Management Act 1991 for discharging a contaminant. The RMA charge is under section 338 (1B) and (15B) relates to the ‘discharge of harmful substances from ships or offshore installations’.

It 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 MTA ‘for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk’. These charges carry a maximum penalty of $10,000 or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.

Judge Christopher Harding has extended their interim name suppression. The pair was remanded on bail and is due to reappear in court on February 29.

In this new age of Voyage Data Recorders and AIS position records, it's pretty hard to alter the electronic 'bread crumb trail' after the event.


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