NZ Herald

Rena captain, officer plead guilty

THE Rena captain has pleaded guilty to all charges in Tauranga District Court in New Zealand but his identity will remain a secret until his sentencing in May.

Also in court was the second officer of the Rena, whose name also remains suppressed.

He pleaded guilty to charges laid under the Maritime Safety and Crimes Act, but entered no plea on a charge laid under the Resource Management Act (RMA). If necessary, a hearing will take place in May to hear legal argument regarding the RMA charge.

Sentencing for both men will take place in the Tauranga District Court on 25 May.

The captain and second officer were charged in October under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act with "operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk", each charge carrying a maximum penalty of $10,000 or 12 months in prison.

The following month both men were charged under the Resource Management Act relating to the "discharge of harmful substances from ships or offshore installations".

The RMA charge carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $300,000, or two years' imprisonment, and $10,000 for every day the offending continues.

New charges were added in December, including three alleged offences under the Crimes Act and a charge of "willfully attempting to pervert the course of justice".

Each charge carried a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment.

The captain faces four charges under the Crimes Act, and the second officer three charges.

Maritime New Zealand has refused to comment further while the matter is before the courts.


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