NZ Files Charges Against Owners of M/V Rena
Daina Shipping, owner of the cargo ship that ran aground off the coast of New Zealand last October, has been charged with discharging harmful substances and faces a fine that could run as high as NZ$600,000 (US$489,000).
Until cleanup of what has been called the worst environmental disaster in New Zealand maritime history is complete, the company is also subject to a fine of NZ$10,000 per day. Given the present situation, that could end up a substantial sum: just yesterday, the severed aft section of the ship sunk in high seas as 16 additional containers broke free from the still-floating bow.
The ship’s captain and second officer are scheduled for sentencing in May and face up to 7 years in prison, having pled guilty to charges of operating the 775-foot vessel in a manner likely to cause danger and to altering ship documents after the accident.
According to the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission, the crew altered course in an attempt to beat tides that would have delayed their port arrival by several hours.
Meanwhile, just off the Tuscan coast…
Costa Concordia Fuel Salvage Successful;
New Details of Sinking Emerge
Environmentalists’ worst fears were averted as removal of 500,000 gallons of fuel from the half-submerged Costa Concordia was successfully concluded March 23.
The 114,500-ton cruise liner with 4,200 aboard ran aground and capsized January 13, claiming 32 souls. Of those, thirty bodies have thus far been found; the most recent 5 were recovered March 22.
Additional cleanup of debris scattered across the sea floor must be completed before moving the vessel and is currently underway. Contrary to previous reports, the cruise liner is now expected to be salvaged in one piece, although removal is expected to take 10-12 months.
New details of what happened just before and after the shipwreck off of Italy’s Giglio Island are coming to light, and detailed in a 17-page feature in Vanity Fair.