Shipowner, Master Fined for Marine Pollution
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has prosecuted China Earth Shipping Incorporated, the owners of Panama flagged bulk carrier Xin Tai Hai and its master after it disposed of garbage near
Gladstone in June last year.
China Earth Shipping Incorporated was convicted of illegally discharging garbage and fined $20,000 in
the Townsville Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, November 18. The ship’s master was fined $6000 on charges of illegally discharging garbage and failing to record it in the garbage record book. The company and its master entered pleas of guilty.The charges were a result of an AMSA investigation under the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act.
A local fisherman reported seeing a number of plastic bags of dumped rubbish on June 13 last year.
AMSA identified Xin Tai Hai as the potential source of the pollution through the Vessel Traffic Service in Gladstone, which tracks vessels transiting through the area after the report was received by the Gladstone Volunteer Marine Service.
An AMSA surveyor boarded the ship while it was berthed in Gladstone and the investigation found similar items to those found in the ocean.
Ship Safety Division General Manager Allan Schwartz said Australia, in line with international conventions, does not tolerate ships dumping garbage in the ocean. “Ship owners and their masters need to understand these incidents are investigated and will lead to prosecution, if ships are found to have disposed of garbage illegally,” Mr Schwartz said. “These regulations exist to ensure sensitive sea areas such as the Great Barrier Reef are protected.”