Rena clean-up could take a year
Originally published by the New Zealand Herald.
It could take at least a year for the Bay of Plenty to recover from the Rena crisis – and officials are still preparing for all the stricken ship’s remaining oil and containers to be lost into the sea.
Maritime New Zealand says an observation flight this morning found there has been no further damage to the vessel overnight, after fears rough sea conditions could break the ship apart.
Conditions have improved since yesterday, with winds of between 15 and 20 knots, and 1.5-2 metre swells this morning.
Environment Minister Nick Smith said yesterday that a long-term recovery plan now being developed would be “a 12-month exercise” – an indication of the lingering stain the disaster may leave on the region.
The plan, discussed by the Bay of Plenty’s mayors and six iwi, included the worst-case scenario of a second 350-tonne oil spill.
Dr Smith also revealed that the Government was considering prosecuting the Greek shipping giant that owns the ship after yesterday laying new charges against its captain and navigational officer.
The Government has six months to prosecute Costamare Shipping, which could face fines of up to $600,000 under the Resource Management Act.
“The Government is of a view we need to throw the full force of the law at those responsible, not only for the deaths of more than 1400 birds but also pollution to tens of kilometres of beaches,” Dr Smith said.
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby called for action against Costamare.
“Where people are accountable on this issue, they should be brought to account – and that’s everybody.”
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