New Zealand's maritime authority is investigating how shipping around our coasts can be made safer, as a high-level report into the grounding of the Rena reveals an alarming catalogue of issues.

The review by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) would consider how coastal navigation safety risks were identified and managed and would "deliver a current and comprehensive" analysis of risk factors, the agency said.

It came as the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) yesterday released the long-awaited findings of its inquiry into the grounding of the container ship Rena off the Tauranga coast in 2011.

Among its recommendations was that MNZ collect sufficient data on shipping movements around the New Zealand coast, and "monitor and control" the use of virtual aids to navigation around the coast.


A lack of data meant it wasn't possible to analyse whether there was any need for ship routing around the coast.

MNZ director Keith Manch told the Herald that although there wasn't a "huge amount" of ship traffic around the country's coasts, the review would consider the option, as well as the suggested virtual aids.

Last night, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said he expected MNZ to implement the recommendations in full.

The TAIC report's main findings centred around the multiple failings of the Rena's master and second mate, whose poor planning and execution led directly to the grounding.

The passage plan did not meet standards of best practice, and a shortcut that was taken to reach the Port of Tauranga by 3am - which instead led straight to the reef but only would have saved a minute had the hazard not been there - increased the risk and "contributed directly" to the grounding.

There were also failures in the standard of watch-keeping in almost all aspects, the navigating crew were not strictly following company procedures, and monitoring equipment also wasn't used adequately.

The investigation further found that the navigating crew had not been following the safety management system for at least the six coastal voyages prior to the grounding; that deficiencies had been spotted on the Rena at previous ports overseas; and that international protocols for auditing training standards "lacked transparency".

The captain and navigator were from the Philippines. An independent audit had found Philippines' maritime education, training and certification system did not meet international standards.


The recommendations
• The company that managed the Rena, CIEL, "evaluate the effectiveness" of its safety management system so the failures of the Rena weren't shared by other vessels in its fleet. The company has since followed up the points.

• That Maritime New Zealand promote, through the International Maritime Organisation, the transparency of the system for auditing countries' seafarer training systems.

• That Maritime New Zealand collect "sufficient data" on shipping movements around the New Zealand coast, and "monitor and control" the use of virtual aids to navigation.