The owners of the Rena, the ship that ran aground off the Tauranga coast almost a year ago, have reached a compensation agreement worth up to $38 million with the government.
The grounding of the Rena last October led to New Zealand's worst environmental disaster, spilling hundreds of tonnes of oil and prompting a massive ongoing salvage operation to retrieve containers and other debris.
The financial settlement will mean Greece-based Daina Shipping Company will pay $27.6m for the costs incurred in the clean-up.
This amount could increase to $38m if it's decided to leave part of the wreck in place.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says that under maritime law at the time the Rena ran aground, Daina Shipping was only obliged to pay a maximum $11.3m in compensation.
To date the cost to the Crown of the Rena grounding is about $47 million.
The Marine Legislation Bill, going through parliament, will substantially increase the amount of compensation payable by ship owners.
"These agreements allow both New Zealand as a whole, and the Bay of Plenty region, to move on from what was, from an environmental standpoint, the worst maritime disaster in our history," Mr Brownlee said.
Maritime New Zealand director Keith Manch said the agreement settled the claims of the Crown and other public bodies including Maritime NZ, the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Environmental Protection Agency and New Zealand Transport Agency.
Daina Shipping spokesman Konstantinos Zacharatos said the company has always sought to work closely with New Zealand authorities.
"This settlement is a vital step forward in our progressive resolution of all the issues, and I want to thank the New Zealand authorities for all of their work that has gone into achieving this outcome."
Daina Shipping still faces court action separate to the settlement agreement.
It was charged under the Resource Management Act 1991 for the "discharge of harmful substances from ships" in the coastal marine area.
The charge carries a maximum fine of $600,000 and $10,000 for every day the offending continues.
The company was due to appear in Tauranga District Court on Friday, however, the case has been adjourned until October 26, a Maritime New Zealand spokesman told NZ Newswire.
Friday will mark one year since the ship grounded on Astrolabe Reef.