Australian Parliament Jacks Up Maximum Oil Spill Fines

By MarEx 2011-11-22 09:07:19

Late Monday, the Australian Parliament increased the maximum fines for ships spilling oil in their territorial waters from US$1 million to $11 million.  The shipping companies will also have to contribute to clean up operational costs.

The decision was passed late on Monday, and was in response to a Chinese coal carrier, Shen Neng 1, that grounded in the Great Barrier Reef last year.   The Shen Neng 1 spilled nearly 3 tons of fuel oil into the world’s largest coral reef chain.  The government only fined the ship’s officers about $50,000 for the catastrophe.

PHOTO: MV Shen Neng 1 aground on the Great Barrier Reef, April 2010

Any discharge of oil, or oil residue left by ships, will be fair game to the new stringent stance Australia is adopting to protect their ecological resources.