A Newfoundland and Labrador provincial court judge has ordered the Motor Vessel (MV) Project Europa to pay a $70,000 penalty for violations of the Canada Shipping Act associated with the unlawful discharge of an oily substance into Canadian waters.
On August 23, 2003, a Government of Canada marine pollution surveillance flight detected a slick in the wake of MV Project Europa, a cargo ship registered in the Netherlands and owned by Biglift Goedkoop B.V.of Amsterdam. At the time, the vessel was approximately 65 miles south of Cape Race, NL and was traveling from Spain towards Montreal.
Transport Canada Marine Safety in St. John's, NL made arrangements for the ship to be boarded at Trois-Rivières, Québec. An on-board investigation was carried out on August 25, 2003 while the ship was en route between Trois-Rivières and Montreal. A further investigation was carried out upon the ship's arrival in the port of Montreal on the 26th and 27th of August.
The Transport Canada Marine Safety investigation determined that the slick contained approximately 40 litres of an oily substance and that the oil originated from the MV Project Europa. The investigation also concluded that, at the time of the sighting, the ship's engineers were working on the oily water separator and that, in the course of that work, they discharged water containing oil overboard. As a result, Transport Canada Marine Safety laid charges against the vessel under the Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations of the Canada Shipping Act.
The vessel pleaded guilty to the illegal discharge in provincial court in St. John's, NL on August 26, 2005 and was subsequently fined $70,000.
Transport Canada is committed to ensuring environmentally responsible commercial marine operations and to prosecuting marine polluters whenever there is sufficient evidence. Penalties imposed by the courts act as a general deterrent for any would-be polluter.
The department continues to work in close cooperation with other federal agencies, such as Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada, the Department of National Defence and Justice Canada, as well as with other national and international partners in order to eliminate ship source marine pollution in Canadian waters.