6 Sep 2012

Jailed Rena crew set to be deported

7:58 am on 6 September 2012

Two men jailed over the grounding of the Rena container ship have been released from prison and are set to be deported from New Zealand on Thursday.

The ship ran aground on Astrolabe Reef, off the coast of Tauranga, on 5 October last year, spilling oil and containers into the sea and polluting beaches in the region.

The ship's captain, Mauro Balomaga, and navigational officer Leonil Relon, both from the Philippines, were jailed for seven months for attempting to pervert the course of justice and operating a vessel in a way that caused unnecessary danger or risk.

Balomaga and Relon have served half their sentence, as required by the Parole Act.

Balomaga's lawyer Paul Mabey, QC, says the pair have been issued with deportation notices from Immigration New Zealand and understands they will be flown to Manila on Thursday.

Mr Mabey says both Balomaga and Relon have retained their jobs with their employer and hope to continue in the maritime business in some way.

Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby says neither should ever be in control of a vessel again because of their poor seamanship.