The Straits Times
Published on Sep 28, 2012

Ship's captain apologises for New Zealand disaster


WELLINGTON (AFP) - The Filipino captain of the ship that caused New Zealand's worst maritime environmental disaster has issued a public apology for the catastrophe and for trying to cover up his role.

Mauro Balomaga was deported to the Philippines earlier this month after serving half of a seven-month jail term for operating the container ship Rena in a dangerous manner and attempting to falsify navigation records.

Speaking from the Philippines, Balomaga told The New Zealand Herald of the guilt he felt knowing his actions had caused so much devastation.

The Liberian-flagged Rena ploughed into an offshore reef in October last year, spewing more than 300 tonnes of toxic fuel oil that killed thousands of sea birds and fouled beaches in the North Island's pristine Bay of Plenty.