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The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), known to cruisers through its MSC Cruises arm, is a major player in cargo shipping.

The company was chartering the shipping container Rena when, carrying a consignment of 1,700 tons of oil, the ship ploughed into a reef in the Bay of Plenty on the north coast of New Zealand, near the city of Tauranga, on October 5, 2011. The incident caused an estimated 360 tons of oil to spill into the ocean in what has been described as the worst environmental disasters in New Zealand’s history.

Announcing the donation, Kevin Clarke, managing director of MSC (Australia and New Zealand) emphasised that the donation is a goodwill gesture. MSC did not own the ship, did not employ its staff and was not responsible for the maintenance and operation of the vessel.

“Our own staff in Tauranga are part of the local community, and are as concerned about the grounding and its implications as everyone else in the Bay of Plenty – and throughout New Zealand,” he said.