Shipping company, chief officer convicted for dumping garbage in Great Barrier Reef

Photo: Scott

Following a prosecution by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) on Friday, February 26, the chief officer and the owner of a foreign-flagged commercial vessel were fined and convicted in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for dumping the equivalent of a 120-litre household garbage bin full of food waste into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

In 2018, the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Iron Gate was on a voyage between Brisbane and Gladstone when the chief officer approved the discharge of garbage overboard about 24 kilometres south-east 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 seaward of the boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“We take a zero-tolerance approach to pollution from shipping,” said AMSA General Manager Operations, Allan Schwartz, “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.”

The total fines against both parties amount to about $6,600. Mr Schwartz noted, however, that it is the conviction that goes to their reputations and records that have the longest-lasting impact.

“These convictions should serve as a reminder to other industry operators that in Australia, we make sure polluters pay,” added Mr Schwartz.


Published since 1978, Ausmarine is the foremost magazine servicing the Australian and New Zealand commercial, military and government marine sectors.