Four commissioners were appointed to determine whether or not a resource consent should be granted and thus allowing part of the MV Rena wreck to remain on Astrolabe Reef.
The vessel grounded on the reef, off the coast of Tauranga, on the 5th of October back in 2011. An oil spillage followed and thus prompted a major clean-up operation of all beaches located in the area.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has gathered a hearing panel, with the chairman of choice being the retired Environment Court judge Gordon Whiting, with the members being Cultural Commissioner Rauru Kirikiri, marine engineer John Lumsden and environmental scientist Dr. Shane Kelly.
All of the four commissioners are well experienced in their respective field. They have been appointed to hear and decide on the Rena’s owners’ application in regard to leaving a portion of the wreckage in the ocean.
Judge Whiting has a solid background in resource management law and has presided over numerous cases of resource management that have involved conflicting uses of public and private interests.
Cultural Commissioner Rauru Kirikiri has quite the fair share of experience regarding a wide range of Maori cultural issues.
Marine engineer John Lumsden has dive experience, managing freshwater and has conducted several marine investigations including a case revolving around a deep water diving inspection of Maui’s gas platform.
Environmental scientist Dr. Shane Kelly has acquired tons of experience in the fields of applied science, environmental assessment, marine conservation and resource management.
Eddie Grogan, Bay of Plenty Regional Council deputy chief executive, commented that now that the four commissioners have been appointed to the case, expectations are that the dates, venue and requirements regarding the hearing are going to be confirmed by the end of next month (February).