Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says the $10,500 fine sends a clear message to polluters of New Zealand waters.
Southern Storm Fishing Ltd, owners of the fishing vessel Oyang 75, was sentenced in Christchurch District Court on a charge under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 of failure to notify two harmful discharges to sea.
“The rules around discharging waste are clear – we will not allow any operators to flout these regulations and damage New Zealand’s marine environment,” MNZ Manager Intelligence and Planning Paul Fantham said.
On 8 August 2011, MNZ inspectors discovered a concealed piping arrangement aboard the Oyang 75 that allowed unfiltered bilge effluent, containing oil, to be discharged directly into the sea when a hidden pump switch was turned on. The arrangement was hidden under the floor plates of the engine room.
There was clear evidence that the piping had been used at least twice. While there is a clear legal requirement to notify the MNZ if harmful substances are discharged or escape into the sea, no such notification was made.
The law requires charges relating to alleged discharges to be laid within six months of the alleged offences. Because the vessel remained in port for all but six days after the inspection, charges relating to the actual discharge of waste were not possible. Therefore, a charge relating to failure to notify harmful discharges was laid in this case.