NSW Roads and Maritime Services have slapped a $15,000 fine on the operator of a Sydney charter vessel which was found to be emptying the contents of its sewage tank into Sydney Harbour.
The issuing of the penalty notice comes in the wake of last month’s grounding of two charter vessels in Sydney following an inspection by RMS officials. Angus Mitchell, RMS executive director, said the inspection was in response to “credible information received about potential safety breaches”.
“An inspection of the engine room revealed the overboard discharge valve from the vessel’s sewage tank was secured in the ‘open’ position by a cable tie, and the sewage tank was empty – directly after the vessel had returned from a two-hour charter,” he said.
“This indicated that any toilet discharge was pumped directly overboard into the waters of Sydney Harbour.
“Further investigations have confirmed the pollution of waters offence, and as a result Roads and Maritime has issued the owner of the vessel with a penalty notice which carries a fine of $15,000 payable in 21 days for the pollution offence.”
Other safety breaches identified in the targeted compliance operation are being considered for other possible legal action by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
According to RMS, the two boats were grounded for a number of days until safety improvements were carried out and verified by a marine surveyor. Along with the sewage issues, one of the vessels was also found not to have a ‘competent crewman’ on board. Deficient safety equipment included empty fire extinguishers, a life raft which was unable to float, out-of-date first aid kit and missing items.
“Maritime inspectors and surveyors take a risk-based approach and carry out regular inspections of high-risk vessels, including targeted compliance of specific vessels as required, particularly after the credible information is received by the agency,” said Mitchell.
“All operators need to comply with strict safety standards which are in place to protect persons, property and the environment or face the consequences.”
News article was written by Marine Business News
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