The grounding of the Rena was a huge disaster.

After it ran aground, 300 tonnes of oil leaked into the sea, killing marine life and washing up on our beaches. More than five years later a chunk of the ship still sits underwater on the Astrolabe Reef.

On Friday an independent hearing panel released their decision on a resource consent application to leave the remains of the wreck on the reef - they decided it could stay.

I'm inclined to agree.


The ideal situation would have been to have had the whole ship removed long ago. Why couldn't it have been handled it in the same way the Costa Concordia was removed - by refloating the whole ship?

But that was not the decision made at the time and now it is too late.

Being so far below the water, the wreck no longer poses a danger to boaties.

But with some of the ship being in depths of up to 65m it does put the lives of the divers employed to clean up the mess at risk. Yes, they are well-trained professionals but is getting rid of the wreck important enough to warrant putting anyone in such a dangerous situation?

I don't think so.

The argument that it would only do further damage to the reef also has merit. The remains of the ship have been there so long it is now covered in marine life. Marine plants are growing on it and it is home to fish and other creatures.

Ripping it out now would surely only cause more damage and upset those creatures.

It seems to me the conditions surrounding the decision to allow the wreck to remain cover most of the issues that could arise.

Groups have been set up to monitor the reef and a bond of more than $6 million, as well as a surety in the form of an Irrevocable Letter of Undertaking from the Swedish Club, acting as guarantors, in the sum of $5 million will mean any issues and potential clean-up costs over the next 20 years should be covered.

I'm all for looking after our environment but it seems to me the clean-up is at a point where most of the problematic substances have been removed and further removal will only put people in danger.