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Shipping company fined for polluting Great Barrier Reef


A foreign shipping company and the chief officer of one of its vessels has been fined thousands of dollars for dumping garbage into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says crew onboard a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier dumped the equivalent of a 120-litre household bin full of food waste into protected waters, about 24 kilometres south east of Lady Elliot Island.

The carrier, Iron Gate, was on a voyage between Brisbane and Gladstone in 2018, when the chief officer gave approval to throw the rubbish overboard. 

Under protection laws, food waste cannot be dumped within 22 kilometres of the boundary of the marine park.

The shipping company and the ship’s chief officer have collectively been fined $6,600.

Conviction recorded

AMSA boss Allan Schwartz says, however, the biggest penalty against the company and chief officer is the recorded convictions, which will tarnish their reputations in the industry. 

“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,” Mr Schwartz says.

“Australians and tourists alike visit Lady Elliot Island to swim with mantra rays and turtles – not blended food waste from merchant ships.”