Photo: AMSA

AMSA: Shipping firm, CO fined for dumping waste

The chief officer (CO) and company of a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier have been fined and convicted in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for dumping the equivalent of a 120-litre household garbage bin full of food waste into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, following a prosecution by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

Back in 2018, the 28,100 dwt Iron Gate was on a voyage between Brisbane and Gladstone when the chief officer approved the discharge of garbage overboard about 13 nautical miles southeast of Lady Elliot Island – well within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Australian waters.

Under the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, food waste cannot be discharged within 12 nautical miles seaward of the boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, according to the maritime authority.

AMSA General Manager Operations, Allan Schwartz, said it was important to help protect Australia’s marine environment from the impacts of shipping.

“We take a zero-tolerance approach to pollution from shipping and that is why, after detecting this breach during a routine inspection of Iron Gate in 2018, we detained the ship and later charged the chief officer and company, Kairasu Shipping S.A.”

“In total, the fines against both parties amount to about $6,600. However, it’s the conviction which goes to their reputations and records that have the longest-lasting impact.”

“Dumping garbage into the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef isn’t something you want on your professional record. These convictions should serve as a reminder to other industry operators that in Australia, we make sure polluters pay,” Schwartz stressed.

Australia implements a range of standards and regulations to protect the marine environment from pollution. These standards and regulations ensure that the country meets international obligations such as the IMO’s International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).