Shipping company pays for Rena disaster

A year ago today, the ship, the Rena, hit a reef in Tauranga harbour. The result was a disaster for the harbour, the beach, sea birds, exporters and local businesses. It probably destroyed the career of the captain and navigator also. They served three months in prison before being deported to their homeland, the Philippines.

It cost the shipping company or their insurance company $80m to remove the shipping containers from the wreck and try to salvage the ship. It cost our government $47m to clean up the oil. This week, the Greek shipping company also agreed to pay $27.6m for the costs of the clean-up, $27m compensation for lost goods in the containers and $11.5m to locals who lost business. If the wreck has to stay in the water, the company will pay another $10.4m.

Under New Zealand law, any ship which causes damage like this has to pay $11.3m. New Zealand’s law is 36 years old and was never updated. However, the company has agreed to pay double this amount to avoid going to court. Instead, the company and the New Zealand government settled this by negotiation.


Listen with your eyes closed and see if you can write down the amounts of money correctly, then check by reading the text.

Listen to March 9th 2012 to hear the background to this or type Rena in the search box.


• reef – rocks
• disaster – terrible thing which happens
• navigator – reads maps
• deported – sent back to their country
• wreck – badly damaged ship; it cannot be used any more
• salvage – remove containers and try to save the ship
• clean up the oil (phrasal verb); a clean-up (n) – take oil from the sea and beach and make the sea and beach clean (Important not to say: clean the oil)
• compensation – money to pay for their loss
• updated – changed for modern times
• negotiation – long discussions and agreement


1. What local businesses lost money?
2. Why did the company want to avoid going to court?
3. Do you think the ship should stay on the reef? It could be used by divers but local Maori say the reef must be restored to its natural state.

One Comments

  1. tourist companies and local hospitality have suffered by this disaster.The company want to avoid going to court,the reason probably is they want to keep their shipping permission in NZ .If ship wreck still stay in reef,it costs both ways.The sight is destroyed,but government will spend less money to solve this issue.

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