The owner of the Rena, Daina Shipping, has been fined $300,000 after admitting discharging harmful substances into the ocean.
The Greek-owned Daina Shipping Company admitted the Resource Management Act charge when it appeared in Tauranga District Court on Friday.
As the registered owner, Daina Shipping has overall responsibility for the operation of the Rena, the Liberian-flagged container ship which spilled 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the ocean after it struck the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga on October 5 last year.
The charge laid by Maritime New Zealand carried a maximum fine of $600,000 and $10,000 for every day the offending continued.
In deciding on the $300,000 fine, Judge Robert Wolff said the pollution was not deliberate and the owners have continued to co-operate with the community and government agencies.
Paul Mabey QC said the company, through its insurers The Swedish Club, has paid $235 million since the grounding and is continuing to pay for salvage.
Maritime New Zealand director Keith Manch welcomed the admission.
"The guilty plea by the owners has led to this case being resolved in a timely fashion and that is to be welcomed," he said.
Mr Manch said the harmful substances included the heavy fuel oil and 32 containers of dangerous goods which contained hydrogen peroxide, alkylsulphonic acid, ferro-silicon, trichloroisocyanuric acid and potassium nitrate.
Also classified as harmful or as contaminants were containers carrying wine, operational waste, animal pelts, dairy products, fabrics, cement and machinery parts.
In a deal separate to the court action, Daina Shipping agreed earlier this month to pay $27.6 million for the costs incurred in the clean-up, an amount which could increase to $38m if it's decided to leave part of the wreck in place.
The ship's former master Mauro Balomaga, 44, and navigation officer Leonil Relon, 37, were sentenced to seven months' jail in May on charges relating to the grounding, the pollution and attempting to cover up navigation errors.
The have since been deported back to the Philippines.