Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) has laid three charges against Sanford Ltd. after an investigation into alleged illegal dumping of oil into the sea of New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone from the Korean foreign charter fishing vessel Pacinu, a vessel owned by Juahm Industries operating under charter in New Zealand to Sanford Ltd.
Sanford is charged with illegal discharge of a harmful substance – oil – from the vessel (under s237 of the Maritime Transport Act), failing to notify MNZ of the discharge (s238), and failure to notify a pollution incident (s239).
The discharge of a harmful substance charge carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a fine of $200,000. The two other charges each carry a maximum fine of $100,000, and for a continuing offence, a further fine not exceeding $20,000 per day or part day the offence is committed.
The charges follow an extensive investigation since January 2013 by MNZ investigators, including examination of the ship in Timaru, gathering of photographic and video evidence, forensic examination of samples, and interviews with a number of Indonesian crew members.
Sanford said it is conducting its own internal investigations into claims that onboard machinery for separating shipboard waste was not used correctly. They say the claims were made by former Indonesian crew members of the Pacinui.
Crew members will be available to appear as witnesses in the case, if required. The case is due to be called for the first time in Timaru District Court on August 26, 2013.