A barge skipper has been fined £500 and more than £2,000 in costs, after pleading guilty to dumping trash at sea, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported.
On the morning of May 26 this year, the barge Beta was traveling from Exmouth to Plymouth, where it would be converted into a floating fish restaurant. In charge of the vessel was Mark Tamburrano, a restaurateur from Plymouth.
As the vessel passed close to Torquay Bay, witnesses from the Food Standards Agency and local Environment Health department, who were visiting shell beds nearby, saw items being thrown from the barge, including a number of bin bags with plastic in them, along with gas canisters and a chemical toilet.
The witnesses approached the barge and the dumping stopped.
Tamburrano appeared before Torquay magistrates court October 10 where he pleaded guilty and was fined £500, plus £50 surcharge and full costs of £2291.31.
In summing up, the magistrate said there had been no obvious intent to dump rubbish at sea but it is obvious an offence has been committed. A fine would be imposed because of the material thrown overboard and its environmental impact on local fishing, as well as its proximity to the coast.
“The law is very clear and there for a purpose – the protection of the marine environment,” said Tony Heslop, MCA surveyor operations manager. “What makes this case worse is that this was a seafish restaurant owner throwing rubbish overboard so close to the shellfish beds and beaches of Torquay. Such behavior is always unacceptable and it is the duty for those who make their living from the sea to protect it.”