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Rena officers released from prison

Written by Nick Blenkey

photo maritime new zealandSEPTEMBER 5, 2012 — New Zealand media report that the captain and second officer of the grounded containership Rena have been released from prison after serving half their sentence as required by parole regulations. They have been handed over to immigration authorities and will be deported to the Philippines on Thursday,

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

The ship’s captain, Mauro Balomaga, and second officer Leonil Relon, both from the Philippines, were sentenced to seven months in prison after entering guilty pleas on charges that included operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk and attempting to pervert the course of justice by altering ship’s documents (see earlier story).

Resolve Maritime is continuing salvage work on the Rena (including removal of 85 pieces of steel from the wreck in the last week of August) and environmental clean up efforts are still seeing the removal of substantial debris, though oil spill response has been reduced from Tier 2 level.

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