A Halifax Provincial Court Judge has imposed a penalty of $80,000 against the Motor Vessel Alida Gorthon for a pollution offense. The Alida Gorthon is a 12,750 GRT general cargo vessel owned by Blow Sea Shipping Ltd. and registered in Cyprus.
The vessel faced charges under the Canada Shipping Act related to the unlawful discharge of a pollutant and failure to report the discharge of a pollutant. The charges were laid following a June 22, 2007 pollution incident in which an oil slick of less than 13 gallons was spotted in the vessel's wake, approximately 124 miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Advanced detection equipment aboard Transport Canada's Dash 8 surveillance aircraft was instrumental in detecting and gathering evidence in the case against the vessel. Some of the detection aids used included Side Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR), Infrared / Ultra Violet observation and Automatic Identification System (AIS) technology.
John Baird, Canada's Transport Minister, said the successful prosecution of the Alida Gordon sends an important message to latent polluters. "Our Government is committed to tackling marine pollution head on by catching polluters in the act," said Minister Baird. "We take the pollution of Canadian waters very seriously. Canada's National Aerial Surveillance Program sends a strong signal to polluters that we will take all necessary action to ensure water polluters face the consequence of their actions."
The court also ordered that $40,000 of the $80,000 monetary penalty is to be paid to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF). Funds collected through the EDF support research and other activities that attempt to lessen the impact of marine pollution in the area in which it occurred.
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring environmentally responsible commercial marine operations and to prosecute marine polluters whenever there is sufficient evidence. Penalties imposed by the courts act as a general deterrent for any would-be polluter. Transport Canada 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 reduce the occurrence of ship source marine pollution in Canadian waters.
More information on the Government of Canada's efforts to eliminate ship-source marine pollution can be found at www.marinepollution.gc.ca.