27 May 2012

Community spirit the 'silver lining' of Rena disaster

3:08 pm on 27 May 2012

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is applauding the resilience and hard work of local communities as one of the main positives to emerge from the Rena disaster.

The captain and navigation officer have been sentenced to seven months in prison after the container ship ran aground in 2011, shedding tonnes of oil and debris and causing widespread pollution.

Mauro Balomaga and Leonil Relon were sentenced on Friday for attempting to pervert the course of justice and operating a vessel in a way that caused unnecessary danger or risk.

Regional council chairman John Cronin says the prison sentence was necessary due to the nature of the charges.

He says the way Tauranga and Bay of Plenty communities banded together in the shoreline clean-up was one of the few silver linings.

"We did show a lot of community spirit. The people of Tauranga and particularly the iwi were prepared to get together and clean up the beaches."