Shipping co and chief officer fined for dumping garbage in Great Barrier Reef

Following a prosecution by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the chief officer and Kairasu Shipping SA were fined and convicted in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for dumping the equivalent of 120-litres of food waste into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

In 2018 ore carrier Iron Gate (IMO 7128916) was on a voyage between Brisbane and Gladstone when the chief officer approved the discharge of garbage overboard about 13nm south-east of Lady Elliot Island, which was well within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Australian waters and in contravention of the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983.

This bans the discharge of food waste within 12nm seaward of the boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

AMSA General Manager Operations Allan Schwartz said that “Australians and tourists alike visit Lady Elliot Island to swim with mantra rays and turtles – not blended food waste from merchant ships”. He added: “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 SA.

The fines however were not particularly large, perhaps reflecting the size of the dumping, the equivalent of two large kitchen bin sacks. Together the guilty parties were penalized about A$6,600. Schwartz said that “it’s the conviction which goes to their reputations and records that have the longest-lasting impact.”

1972-built, Panama-flagged, 83,957 gt Iron Gate has unknown ownership or management.