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Pinoy ship officers get jail terms for New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster
MANILA, Philippines -- Two Filipino ship officers were sentenced to seven-month jail terms for causing what has been called New Zealand’s worst environmental catastrophe.
According to The Guardian, Captain Mauro Balomaga and navigation officer Leonil Relon “pleaded guilty to charges of operating the 47,230-ton Liberian-flagged Rena in a dangerous manner, releasing toxic substances, and attempting to pervert the course of justice by altering the ship's documents."
The cargo ship, which was carrying 1,368 containers, eight of which contained hazardous materials, as well as 1,700 tons of heavy fuel oil and 200 tons of marine diesel oil, ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef on October 5, 2011.
The incident happened after Balomaga ordered the Relon to take a short cut so it would not be late for its destination.
Daina Shipping, the cargo ship's owners, were also ordered to pay "a maximum fine of NZ$600,000 (£290,000), and an additional fine of NZ$10,000 for each day the offending continues."
This is roughly P20.3 million. (Aliana Gimena, InterAksyon.com)