The Captain of the cargo ship which grounded on a reef off Tauranga last year has pleaded guilty to all charges against him.
The Rena hit the Astrolabe Reef in October last year causing an environmental disaster - spilling oil and containers into the water and killing masses of sea animals. The stricken ship broke in two early this year.
The captain pleaded guilty today in the Tauranga District Court to charges laid under the Maritime Transport Act, Crimes Act and Resource Management Act.
The ship's navigation officer, whose name is also suppressed, also appeared in court today and he pleaded guilty to a charge laid under the Maritime Transport Act and three Crimes Act charges.
Both men face the same charges; under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 for operating a vessel in a manner likely to cause danger, under the Resource Management Act 1991 for discharging a contaminant and on three charges under the Crimes Act for altering ship documents.
The captain faces one additional charge under the Crimes Act for altering ship documents.
The charges under the Crimes Act each carry a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.
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.
The Maritime Transport Act carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.
Sentencing for both men is scheduled for May 25 at the Tauranga District Court.
The navigation officer is scheduled to reappear in the Tauranga District Court on May 22 where more pleas are expected.
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