Independent review of MNZ response to Rena grounding

Thursday 4 October 2012, 2:44PM
By Maritime New Zealand


An independent review of the response by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) to the grounding of the Rena on Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga on 5 October 2011 will be conducted by former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Murdoch.

The terms of reference are available on the MNZ website.


The review will examine the MNZ response to the Rena incident and establish the factors that contributed to, or limited, its effectiveness.

It will involve discussions with MNZ staff, and central and local government stakeholders. Although the review will not involve public submissions, Mr Murdoch will discuss the Rena response with all relevant central and government bodies, and with other key agencies that supported the MNZ response.

Mr Manch said that a review of such large scale incidents, carried out independently, was standard practice for emergency response organisations.

“As an organisation, business units within MNZ have done a lot of thinking about the response to the Rena grounding. Now it is timely to get an independent view,” he said. “There will be things that have been done very well, but inevitably there will be areas where things could have been done better and we can take lessons away from this incident.”

Mr Manch said the review’s focus was solely on MNZ’s response to the incident. He said the causes of the grounding had been established in the criminal investigation that led to the prosecution of the Master and Second Officer.

Ministry of Transport Chief Executive Martin Matthews said an independent review was an opportunity for the transport sector to learn from the Rena experience in order to prepare for similar events.

“If we can identify ways of doing things better, whether this means changing or retaining parts of the current response systems, this is good for the transport sector as a whole.”

It is expected the independent review will be completed in the first quarter of 2013. The review report will be made public.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission is conducting a separate investigation into the grounding.

Simon Murdoch retired from the Public Service in 2009. He was Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 1991-1998.  He spent most of his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade where he became Chief Executive Officer in 2002.  He has held diplomatic postings in Canberra and Washington, and has undertaken a number of reviews in the public sector, mostly in the fields of foreign affairs, security and emergency response and management.