New Zealand settles over 2011 oil spill

Oct. 2, 2012 at 6:08 AM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A settlement was reached with the shipping company responsible for an October 2011 oil spill off the New Zealand coast, the government said Tuesday.

Cargo vessel MV Rena struck a reef off New Zealand last year. It broke apart this year and salvage teams are working on what remains of the vessel.

The ship spilled about 2,000 barrels of oil into the Bay of Plenty when it hit the reef. Maritime New Zealand, the agency responding to the disaster, had removed most of the oil from Rena by December.

The government announced Tuesday it reached a $22.8 million settlement with Daina Shipping Co. regarding the October grounding.

The government said Daina and Rena's insurers, The Swedish Club, are examining the effects of various aspects of not only the spill but also the wreck itself. Daina, under the terms of the settlement, agrees to an additional $8.6 million should salvers leave the wreck in place.

Rena's Master Mauro Balomaga and Second Officer Leonil Relon were given short prison terms in May after pleading guilty to a total of 11 charges stemming from the grounding.

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