6 Nov 2014

Crown rejects Rena allegations

6:55 am on 6 November 2014

The Crown is rejecting allegations that it withheld highly relevant and crucial reports about the stricken container ship Rena from the Waitangi Tribunal.

In 2011, the ship crashed into the Astrolabe Reef, off Tauranga, spilling tonnes of oil and debris into the sea and creating one of New Zealand's worst maritime and environmental disasters.

The Rena's bow was dismantled in February 2013.

The Rena's bow was dismantled in February 2013. Photo: RNZ

The Rena was owned by Greek shipping company Costamare through one of its subsidiaries, Daina Shipping Company.

The independent reports were written by London Offshore Consultants which said the ship's owners grossly exaggerated the time and money it would take to remove the wreck.

The Motiti Rohe Moana Trust and Ngai Te Hapu were fighting to have the wreck removed.

They said the reports should have been disclosed while the Tribunal was looking into the issue.

The groups said that evidence the Crown did submit was in conflict with what the reports said.

But Crown lawyer Jeremy Prebble said the reports were still being developed at the time of the Tribunal's hearing and there was no attempt to withhold them.

Mr Prebble said information that the Crown gave was not in conflict with its own reports and the statements in them were not black and white.

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