Rena insurer proposing to leave wreck on reef

8:25 pm on 18 February 2013

The insurer for the container ship Rena is proposing to leave the rest of the wreck on a reef off Tauranga where it grounded in 2011.

The container ship ran onto Astrolabe Reef on 5 October 2011 and broke in two in January the following year, with the larger stern section sinking below the waterline.

Rena's insurer The Swedish Club is proposing to apply for consent under the Resource Management Act to leave the rest of the wreck and any debris on the reef in a way that is safe for the public.

It says removing the wreck completely would further disturb and destroy the reef environment, would present major operational challenges, and mean the exclusion zone around the wreck would need to be in place for longer.

The proposal will be discussed at the next round of community consultation, scheduled to take place at the end of February.

The Swedish Club says it is seeking feedback from the Bay of Plenty community, including Maori tribes, before it makes a final decision.

But the chairman of iwi leaders' forum Tauranga Moana says Maori are adamant that the rest of the Rena be removed.

Te Awanui Black says Maori cannot take any comfort from an assurance that the wreck doesn't pose a hazard to the marine environment.

"They crashed the thing, they made the mess - they should clean it up."

The cost of the Rena salvage and clean-up to date has been put at more than $275 million.