MV Rena: Dealing with Sub-Standard Shipping



Publication Details

S. Bateman, 'MV Rena: Dealing with Sub-Standard Shipping' (2011) 153 RSIS Commentaries.



The grounding and breaking-up of the container ship Rena off the coast of New Zealand has highlighted the threat to maritime safety and security and the marine environment posed by unsafe shipping.


AN ENVIRONMENTAL disaster of great proportions is unfolding off the coast of New Zealand. The container ship MV Rena ran aground earlier this month in the Bay of Plenty off the port of Tauranga.on the North Island of New Zealand. The ship is now breaking up, spilling heavy fuel oil and containers into the sea causing massive pollution of the marine environment. It has already devastated the community of one of New Zealand’s leading seaside resorts. The economic costs, including the costs of cleaning up the region’s coastline, will run into many millions of dollars. How could a large container ship laden with a valuable cargo, including some toxic and hazardous goods, run aground on a well-charted reef in clear visibility? The answer will likely lie in human failings onboard that throw doubt on the standards of competence and training of contemporary seafarers. The Master and Second Officer of the Rena have already appeared in court charged with operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary risk or danger. This incident has become another example of the threat to maritime security and the marine environment posed by unsafe and sub-standard ships.

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