Travel Trouble

Foreign ship convicted of dumping garbage on Great Barrier Reef

Foreign ship convicted of dumping garbage on Great Barrier Reef

A foreign shipping company and the chief officer of one of its vessels have been convicted for dumping food scraps on the World-Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.

The Liberian bulk carrier Iron Gate dumped the equivalent of 120-litres of a garbage bin filled with food waste into the reef in 2018.

The chief officer approved the discharge of garbage between Brisbane and Gladstone.

Fines against both parties totalled $6,600 and were persecuted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

“Australians and tourists alike visit Lady Elliot Island to swim with manta rays and turtles – not blended food waste from merchant ships,” ASMA general manager of operations Allan Schwartz said.

“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 S.A.”

He said the conviction would impact the company's reputation.

“Dumping garbage into the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef isn’t something you want on your professional record,” he said.

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