Rena Captain pleads guilty

The Captain of the MV Rena has pleaded guilty to all charges he faced:

The captain of the cargo ship which grounded on a reef off Tauranga last year has pleaded guilty to all charges against him.

The Rena hit the Astrolabe Reef in October last year causing an environmental disaster – spilling oil and containers into the water and killing masses of sea animals. The stricken ship broke in two early this year.

The captain, whose name remains suppressed, was due back in court for sentencing on May 25.

The  Rena’s navigator, whose name also remains suppressed, pleaded guilty to Maritime Transport Act charges but was yet to enter a plea on a second group of charges.

The captain and the navigation officer were arrested a week following the Rena grounding, charged under the Maritime Transport Act for “operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk”.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 12 months in prison or a fine up to $10,000.

So it wasn’t John Key’s fault after all.


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  • ConwayCaptain

    Now we will have to have a full blown court of enquiry.

    Interesting to see whether he loses his Filipino Master Cert or will there be a brown envelope under the table

    • Hakim of phut

      Dont count on it . 
      Its an open and shut case and a CoI may bring up stuff about the MoT response for the first 24 hrs- plus it will cost money , on top of what the taxpayers will pay for the cleanup

    • Greg M

       Captain, would a court of enquiry be held here or the country of origin of his masters certificate ?

  • Hakim of phut

    How is Key and Joyce going ‘negotiating ‘ with the insurance companies over paying the full costs
    Based on their ‘negotiating’ with  Media Works ,Warner Bros and AMI  ( Christchurch earthquake) we can expect the taxpayers to be stiffed big time

    • Johno1234

      Given how you lefty tools *love* shafting taxpayers, you must be very happy.

    •  Don’t like to say it – but agree with you – we’ll be paying regardless.

    • Dion

      Do you have a memory problem or something?  I suspect they’ll do better than Michael Cullen when he “negotiated” with Toll to acquire their rail business.

  • George

    The Board of Enquiry should be interesting…..If the old man was on the bridge during the course change or checked the course and stayed there prior to driving up on the bricks.  The Phillipino way of watchkeeping is a defferential one.  If the old man is present they just stand back and assume his presence means he has taken over.  Our system requires a question from the officer of the watch “Are you taking over Sir?”, or a statement by the master to that effect.

  • Hoha

    What use would an enquiry be. He will do a short lag here in NZ then get shipped back to where he is from and be let free by his govt, isnt that what happens all the time.

    • ConwayCaptain

      They can have one of their own but we MUST have one to find out several things:

      How well was that ship and its operation managed.  If theyr find it was lax then this could mean that the shipping co loses its linmitation of liability.

      How well were the ships staff trained.  I bet if he was put up in front of a good QC with marine knowledge like Colin Carruthers we could find out how he obtained his certificates.

      How well was the ship maintained. how dod they operate on the bridge etc.

      Aseorge states here the Master says he is taking over, the fact he is on the bridge doesnt mean that he has.  Also the OOWs here are told to question the Master if they consider that he is doing something wrong, the ASsians will just stand back and not question a damn thing.

      • MrV

        I see your points, but I do wonder if putting the guy in prison really achieves anything for NZ but more expense?
        OK people make mistakes and this is a really bad one, but locking him up as some sort of evildoer … not like hes going to find it easy to get behind the wheel of a container ship again.

        In this case there needs to be an ability to seriously fine the company etc …

        Also would like to know if investigations look at what NZ ports can do by way of navigational beacons to alert ships in an automate fashion, similar to terrain warning on aircraft? Or perhaps the ability to chart the GPS route of all ships in NZ waters etc …

    • Hakim of phut

      The current  criminal court case is different to a Court of Inquiry .