Rena tax bill tops $46 million

  • New Zealand taxpayers have contributed more than NZ$46 million to salvage and clean-up operations

New Zealand taxpayers have contributed over NZ$46 million to the clean-up of the Rena shipwreck it has emerged this week.

According to NZ City News, the cost to the taxpayer, up until January 29th, of what became the worst maritime disaster in the country’s history, was $46,891,000

Rena ran aground 14 miles from Tauranga at Astrolabe Reef in October 2011. Around 350 tons of oil spewed into the ocean from a breached fuel tank, killing thousands of seabirds and swarms of fish.

A breakdown of costs from the New Zealand Treasury shows that Maritime New Zealand incurred costs of $36.8 million, the Department of Conservation a bill of $907,000, while the Environment Ministry and Defence Force demanded fees totalling $803,000 and $7.2 million respectively. In addition, the police, the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Primary Industries incurred costs in excess of $100,000 each, and nine other agencies amassed bills in the thousands of dollars.

In October last year, Rena owner Daina Shipping Company, a subsidiary of Greece’s Costamare Shipping, agreed to pay $27.6 million towards the clean up operation. However, if the company is granted approval to leave part of the wreckage where it lies this will be increased to $38 million.

The New Zealand government estimates that the clean-up, which is still ongoing, will cost around $109 million. The salvage operation, including the recovery of nearly 1,500 tons of fuel and more than 1,000 containers, has cost more than $275 million.

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