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Highest fine for marine pollution

June 30, 2006


Highest fine for marine pollution

Two overseas-owned companies were this week fined a total of $70,000 for oil pollution offences in Lyttelton Harbour in October 2004. The two companies - Cometa United Corp of Panama and Tradewood Shipping Co SAS, of Italy, were earlier this year convicted for discharges of around 400 litres of light fuel oil during refuelling of the Antares, a small bulk carrier on its way from Peru to Tasmania.

In his ruling, Judge Jeff Smith sent a clear warning that the level of fines for future offending is likely to increase.

The chairman of Environment Canterbury’s regulation hearing committee, Alec Neill, has welcomed the fine – the highest ever for marine pollution in New Zealand waters. “The message from our courts is very clear. Spills of contaminants to water and particularly fuel will not be tolerated. Industry has to be more vigilant. Where industry is negligent and spills occur, prosecutions will follow,” he says.

Judge Smith has set a benchmark and industry should take cognisance of the magnitude of the fine, said Cr Neill.

Cometa had already paid for the clean-up costs of the spill of $4,200.


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