The Greek shipping company that owns a cargo ship grounded on a New Zealand reef for more than six weeks Friday apologized for a second time to New Zealand and the people affected by the resulting oil spill.
The apology came as most New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel were withdrawn from the clean-up operation after helping remove more than 992 tons of oily waste from beaches in the Bay of Plenty region.
Costamere reissued an apology to mark the removal of almost all the heavy fuel oil from the Liberian-flagged Rena, which ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef, about 12 nautical miles offshore near the port of Tauranga.
"Following the grounding and spill from our vessel the Rena on Oct. 5, we apologized to the people of New Zealand and particularly to those living around the Bay of Plenty and surrounding areas and we do so again with all sincerity," said the statement from the company.
"The efforts of our appointed salvors, with the excellent support of (shipping authority) Maritime New Zealand (MNZ), have removed just about all of the oil on board and we thank and congratulate them for their efforts. We also thank the thousands of volunteers who have helped clean the beaches."
It said the company's insurers were working closely with the salvors and would pay for the costs of removing the oil from the vessel, as well as the ongoing costs of salving the cargo and the vessel.
"Costamare will continue to assist the authorities with their investigation into the circumstances of the incident," said the statement.