An international shipping company has been caught dumping rubbish on Queensland’s world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.
The Liberian-flagged Iron Gate threw the equivalent of 120 litres of garbage into a marine park near Lady Elliot Island, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.
The bulk carrier was sailing from Brisbane to Gladstone when the chief officer ordered the crew to throw food waste overboard about 24 kilometres southeast of the island.
An AMSA inspection team detained the ship and charged Kairasu Shipping S.A. and the chief officer – second in command to the ship’s captain – following the breach.
“It’s important to protect Australia’s precious marine environment from the impacts of shipping,” operations manager Allan Schwartz said on Thursday.
“Australians and tourists visit Lady Elliot Island to swim with mantra rays and turtles – not blended food waste from merchant ships.”
Kairasu and the officer were convicted and fined $6600 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday.
“It’s the conviction which goes to their reputations and records that have the longest-lasting impact,” Mr Schwartz said.
“Dumping garbage into the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef isn’t something you want on your professional record.”
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.