Not much of a punishment is it, really? A few months in jail and the prospect of getting your old job back following an environmental disaster that affected tens of thousands of people.
But that was the end result for Rena captain Mauro Balomaga and navigation officer Leonil Relon, who served half of their seven-month jail sentences on a range of charges, including perverting the course of justice.
They walked free from Waikeria Prison on Tuesday and were deported home to Manila. They were no doubt comforted by the fact that their employer, the Daina Shipping Company, had held their jobs open.
Their release, which came exactly 11 months after the the Rena struck the Astrolabe Reef, was automatic under the Parole Act because they were sentenced to less than two years' jail.
The Daina Shipping company acknowledges community concern about their jobs being kept open and says no decision has been made on the men's future employment.
Any decision would be subject to further discussions, it says.
While many in the Bay may question the length of the prison term, the most concerning aspect of this case, in my view, is the possibility that these two men could get their old jobs back, given the damage caused and the huge cost to taxpayers and ratepayers.
The clean-up has cost more than $38.9 million already and it's estimated that the bill could rise to $50 million as the salvage operation continues on the vessel which still contains oil, cargo and debris that remain a risk to the environment.
Balomaga and Relon pleaded guilty to charges under the Resource Management Act, such as being the master of a ship from which harmful substances or contaminants were discharged into the coastal marine area, wilfully attempting to pervert the course of justice, and altering ship documents.
In light of these admissions, Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby rightly suggests that the pair should never be put in charge of a marine vessel again.
Let's hope the shipping company comes to the same conclusion.