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Investigations into shipping lane options to be carried out

Investigations into shipping lane options to be carried out

21 February 2013

Further investigation into the options for managing shipping movements in Bay of Plenty waters will be carried out by Bay of Plenty Regional Council in coming months, following a report to its Strategy, Policy and Planning Committee Meeting on Tuesday.

The use of compulsory shipping lanes in the region has been a discussion topic for the Council since the Rena grounding in October 2011 on Astrolabe Reef. At Tuesday’s meeting it was decided that more work was needed to explore all the options available to council, and the risks and logistics.

Committee Chair Raewyn Bennett said staff would now begin the work to look at what those possible options could be for the region.

“With the recent history of the Rena grounding and because we have New Zealand’s largest export port in Tauranga, we realise this is an important issue for our residents,” she said. “Because of that we want to make sure any future decisions made about the management of shipping routes are the best for the region. We also want to make sure we’re addressing the concerns that our local residents have been making to us, including iwi and hapū, about coastal shipping and acknowledging the support many of them have given to us for this work.”

Ms Bennett said staff have been asked to link in closely with Maritime New Zealand and the Ministry of Transport to ensure the council is taking an overarching view of the issue, especially where it may have implications that are broader than just the Bay of Plenty.

“The work done to date to look at the options has raised questions about where this type of regulation would best sit – whether that be at a local, national or international level.”

Currently the Regional Council does have some responsibility for navigation safety within the region’s waters, which extend to 12 nautical miles offshore. They are controlled at a regional level by the Bay of Plenty Navigation Safety Bylaws 2010, which include specific navigation requirements for vessels entering the Tauranga and Whakatāne harbours, and enable the regional council to establish exclusion zones, but do not include compulsory shipping lanes.

ENDS

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