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$2m boost for maritime incident preparedness


Hon Gerry Brownlee
Minister of Transport

3 December 2013

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$2m boost for maritime incident preparedness

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a $2 million package to help Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) improve New Zealand’s wider maritime response capability.

The funding follows the Minister’s release today of an independent review of MNZ’s response to the grounding of the Rena off the coast of Tauranga in October 2011.

Conducted by former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Murdoch, the review identified several areas for improvement.

“I want to thank Mr Murdoch for his work to produce a very valuable guide to help us improve our maritime response capability,” Mr Brownlee says.

“The review makes it clear that the Rena grounding was one of the most complex maritime response challenges in the world and would have tested the limits of any plan.

“While the response was not as efficient as it should have been in the initial stages, it improved quickly and became very effective, which is borne out in the largely positive environmental results of the Rena Recovery Plan’s scientific monitoring programme, also released today.”

Mr Brownlee says the Rena response was about more than oil, and the key recommendation from the review involves developing a wider response capability and associated contingency planning to address both oil and non-oil issues such as salvage, debris and other pollution.

“To do this the Government is providing more than $2.05 million over three years to fund a package of work by MNZ to address the risks posed by future complex maritime incidents.”

This includes:

· developing a wider maritime incident response strategy extending beyond oil pollution response to including salvage and volunteer plans

· clarifying functions and strengthening capability around salvage

· reviewing the response management structure, including increasing skills through secondment and training

· increasing cross-government coordination, including a national emergency management exercise to test whole-of-government readiness for maritime incidents

· improving procurement and supply processes to ensure financially prudent expenditure during an incident response.

On an operational level, 100 GPS ‘pingers’ will be purchased to facilitate location and salvage of containers in a maritime incident – equipment that was not immediately available for the Rena response.

“What this Government wants, along with all New Zealanders, is an assurance that if the worst ever did happen, we’d be able to marshal all available resources to respond quickly, effectively and safely.

“Maritime New Zealand is the natural leader of this response alliance.”

The Rena review can be read at www.maritimenz.govt.nz/rena
ends

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