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The Master and Second officer of the M/V Rena have been slapped with additional charges stemming from the October 5th grounding on Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga, according to Maritime New Zealand.
The men, whose names and identities are being witheld, have been charged under S117(e) & 66 of the Crimes Act, alleging they “wilfully attempted to pervert the course of justice” by altering ship’s documents following the grounding.
The master faces four charges under the Act while the Second Officer faces three charges. If convicted, each charge carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
The men were previously booked on one charge under section 338 (1B) and (15B) of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), which relates to the “discharge of harmful substances from ships or offshore installations”. That charge carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $300,000, or two years’ imprisonment, and $10,000 for every day the offending continues.
They also both face one charge each under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994 (MTA), “for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk”. The MTA charge carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 or a maximum term of imprisonment of 12 months.
Both men appeared today in the Tauranga District Court and were remanded on bail without plea on all charges until February 29, 2012.
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