Rena settlement reached

By Hayden Donnell

The owner of the cargo ship Rena has agreed to pay nearly $28 million in compensation over its grounding off the coast of Tauranga.

Daina Shipping Company will pay $27.6 million to settle the claims of the Crown and several public bodies - including Maritime New Zealand - over the grounding at Astrolabe Reef on October 5 last year.

Maritime New Zealand director Keith Manch said the negotiations over the payment were complex and the result was a "good outcome" for New Zealanders.

"As with any settlement, it is about finding a solution that both sides can live with, and I would like to acknowledge the constructive approach taken by Daina Shipping Company and their continuing commitment to meet their obligations under New Zealand law."

Daina Shipping Company and insurers were still investigating how to deal with the wreck of the Rena.<inline type="poll" id="6089" align="outside"/>

If part of the wreck is eventually left in place at the reef, the company will make an additional $10.4 million payment to the Crown, Maritime New Zealand said.

Company director and spokesman Konstantinos Zacharatos said the settlement was a "vital step forward".

"We have always sought to work closely with the New Zealand authorities to address all aspects of this serious incident. This settlement is a vital step forward in our progressive resolution of all the issues."

The Rena's owners have also agreed to establish a $27 million compensation fund for those who lost goods when the ship ran aground.

Another $11.5 million fund is offering compensation to Bay of Plenty people and businesses who suffered losses.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says the agreements have been reached after many months of negotiations.

" I am satisfied they represent the best possible outcome for the people of New Zealand.

"Throughout this process Daina Shipping has negotiated constructively, and as a result we now have agreements that avoid costly and time-consuming court action with no guarantee of the outcome.

"Under maritime law when the Rena went aground Daina Shipping was only obliged to pay a maximum of approximately $11.3 million compensation for losses caused by its grounding," Mr Brownlee says.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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