According to the local Sun newspaper, only 22 applications had been received by last Wednesday. However, one hour before the deadline on Friday (19th) a further 36 applications were lodged.
The fund was set up by the shipping line to help Bay of Plenty residents cover costs incurred in cleaning up its waters and coastline, including oil and debris, following the grounding of the ‘MSC Rena’ on the Astrolabe Reef in October 2011. Tauranga City Council advisor Catherine Connell believes the fund will be fully subscribed.
Shared equally between Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council, the fund will also assist the local Iwi Mäori population, who suffered as a result of the pollution of the coastline. It will also be used for the care of local wildlife negatively impacted, along with local tourism related businesses that have suffered losses.
MSC managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Kevin Clarke, told the Sun that the fund was a gift to the people of Tauranga, and that while the ship was chartered by the line, it was not responsible for it or its crew.
In addition to the ‘Rena Recovery Fund, business owners, seeking compensation from the vessel’s owners and insurers’ US$11m liability, have until the end of October to lodge a claim.