About Z

Z welcomes High Court ruling in Rena case

07/10/2013 - General News

Jonathan Hill

Z Energy today welcomed a decision by the High Court to strike out proceedings brought against it by Svitzer Salvage BV, arising out of the charter of the tanker ship Awanuia which was used in the recovery of oil from the stricken Rena in 2011.

Awanuia is a dedicated marine fuel tanker owned by Seafuels, and at the time of the Rena grounding was chartered by Z Energy to re-supply ships docked in Auckland harbour.

Z Energy agreed to release Awanuia from its normal charter, thereby enabling the vessel to be chartered by Svitzer Salvage from its owner, Seafuels. As a consequence, over the following two months Awanuia was able to be used to safely remove some 1,300 tonnes of marine fuel oil from Rena.

Despite the charter for the hire of Awanuia being between Seafuels and Svitzer Salvage, Z had found itself dragged into High Court proceedings brought by Svitzer which effectively sought to re-write the commercial terms of the contract between those two parties.

Z Energy General Counsel, Meredith Ussher, said Z was disappointed to have been named as a party to the litigation in the first place, and welcomed Justice Goddard’s ruling that the case alleged against it by Svitzer Salvage could not succeed.

“We were pleased to be able to release Awanuia from our charter so that its owner and the salvor could then deploy it to Tauranga to assist with the Rena disaster.

“We negotiated payment from Seafuels that covered the increased working costs we unavoidably incurred in making urgent alternative supply arrangements for our customers. Beyond that, the contractual terms between Svitzer Salvage and Seafuels were separately negotiated between those two parties, and Z quite rightly had no visibility of the charter rates or other arrangements being negotiated (and subsequently agreed to) by them.

“We at Z are proud of the way we contributed to the response to the Rena disaster, and were a part of the solution to one of the most serious problems caused by the ship’s grounding. We are also pleased to see an early end to the case brought against Z by Svitzer Salvage, which we believe always lacked substantive merit.”