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Vera Auriga still a risk to New Zealand

Vera Auriga still a risk to New Zealand

“News that the Vega Auriga is expected to leave the Port of Tauranga this afternoon only highlights the risks to the Bay of Plenty marine waters,” said Brendan Horan.

“The Government is allowing ships like the Vega Auriga - as it did with its sister ship the Rena - to effectively come and go as they please, despite the clear threat they pose to New Zealand.

“The ship has been banned from every port in Australia, yet Maritime NZ after cursory five-hour inspection is allowing it to continue to be able to enter New Zealand ports.

“And every company associated with the ship is trying to minimise the risks it presents. The Mediterranean Shipping Company and the Vega Reederei company have both tried to say there is no problem here despite the obvious facts.

“There are lessons for New Zealand here. The same health and safety rules that apply onshore must apply to ships’ crew. If our watersiders wear safety helmets, hi-vis vests and steel-capped boots, then our law must require the crew to do so as well.

“If we learn anything, New Zealand must require defined shipping lanes so ships like the Vega Auriga do not end up on the Astrolabe Reef. And we need a credible rapid oil response unit, equipped with more than the four small aluminium dinghies that the National Party think are sufficient.

“The National Party seem to think that ‘new regulations’ and a ‘bigger insurance policy’ will deal with an oil spill. Have you ever tried picking up oil off the beach with an insurance policy?” said Brendan Horan. “Ask the people of Christchurch what they think of insurance companies”


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