More Questions Raised About Rena
The Maritime Union claims several “safety of navigation issues” were raised during inspections of the cargo ship Rena in Australia and China well before its ill-fated trip to Tauranga.
But it wants to know what exactly was checked by local inspectors when she arrived in Bluff.
The union today renewed calls for inspection reports on the Rena to be made public and for clarification of what a Maritime New Zealand inspection involves.
Maritime Union of New Zealand General Secretary Joe Fleetwood says it is still unclear what type of inspection was carried out on the Rena in Bluff by Maritime New Zealand on September 28.
“Was this Maritime New Zealand inspection a full inspection of all areas of concern that had been picked up in China or Australia, or was it simply a chat to the Master and acceptance of whatever he said? Let’s see the paperwork.”
Mr Fleetwood says numerous issues with the Rena had been picked up in Australia and China over preceding months leading to the ship being detained.
He says the real issue is the power of ship operators and charterers, and inadequate controls by ports and national maritime authorities.
The Maritime Union says if people wanted to vent their frustration at Rena, it should be done in a strong and forceful way at the present and past New Zealand Governments and authorities who have allowed substandard flag of convenience vessels to continually trade on the New Zealand coast.
“Masters are held hostage to the demands of the charterers and owners, which is where the real responsibility lies, but those at the top are almost untouchable.”
Mr Fleetwood says one area which had not been discussed so far is how the hectic schedule of the Rena calling into multiple New Zealand ports in a short window of time may have caused crew fatigue.
“There is massive pressure on crews coming on from charterers and owners. Will charges be laid at the highest level or will the crew be made to be scapegoats while the big boys walk free and the taxpayer carries the cost of the clean up?”