Shipping company fined for dumping on Great Barrier Reef
Dumping rubbish near Lady Elliot Island on the world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef has been costly for an international shipping company travelling to Gladstone.
The Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Iron Gate was on a voyage from Brisbane to Gladstone, when the ship's chief officer authorised the dumping of 120 litres of food waste in 2018.
The ship was about 24 kilometres (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 22 kilometres (12 nautical miles) seaward of the boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Authorities caught up with the ship's activities when they conducted a routine inspection of the Iron Gate.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority launched prosecution action in the Brisbane Magistrates Court against Iron Gate's parent company Kairasu Shipping and the ships' chief officer, which was finalised last Friday.
AMSA general manager operations, Allan Schwartz, said it was important to help protect Australia's precious marine environment from the impacts of shipping.
"Australians and tourists alike visit Lady Elliot Island to swim with manta rays and turtles - not blended food waste from merchant ships," Mr Schwartz said.
"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."