Crashed ship's officers deported from New Zealand

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Associated Press

Posted on September 5, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 5 at 9:02 PM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The captain and navigator of a cargo ship that ran aground on a New Zealand reef last year have been deported to the Philippines after completing their prison sentences.

Capt. Mauro Balomaga and navigator Leonil Relon were each sentenced to seven months in prison in May after pleading guilty to operating the Greek-owned Rena dangerously and altering ship documents after the October crash.

When the Rena ran aground on the Astrolabe reef, it spilled hundreds of tons of oil and killed thousands of sea birds.

Balomaga and Relon were deported to their home country after serving half their sentences, which is typical under New Zealand law.

Investigators concluded that the pair took shortcuts on their planned route as they tried to reach the nearby Port of Tauranga by a deadline.

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