Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Transport
    The Honourable Rachel Nolan

    New laws toughen penalties for marine polluters

    Minister for Transport
    The Honourable Rachel Nolan

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    New laws toughen penalties for marine polluters

    New laws that will greatly increase fines for marine pollution were passed by the Queensland Parliament today.

    Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said shipping industry polluters who endanger the state’s pristine coastline could be fined up to $10 million under the new penalties.

    “Serious incidents of marine pollution like the recent Pacific Adventurer oil spill, and concern over the grounding of the Shen Neng 1 on our reef make it clear that tough new penalties are needed,” Ms Nolan said.

    “These penalties are equal to the toughest in Australia and send a clear warning to those who flout shipping laws that pollution will not be tolerated.”

    Ms Nolan said those who profit from the transportation of goods through Queensland’s coastal waters have a responsibility to be diligent and those who aren’t will pay the price.

    Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said amendments to the Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Act also tighten up requirements for vessels and crews by:

    • Removing shipping company’s right to withhold documentation in the event of a spill and
    • Allowing Maritime Safety to detain a vessel when it is a likely pollution risk to ensure faults are rectified

    “Shipping companies cannot be allowed to withhold important documents when the health of Queensland’s oceans and wildlife are at risk,” Ms Nolan said.

    “In the event of a spill, our Maritime Safety Queensland officials need access to as much information as possible, including records held by the shipping company about things like the vessel’s maintenance and seaworthiness.

    “These amendments mean shipping companies will no longer be able to frustrate our efforts by refusing to provide documents on the basis that the documents may be incriminating.

    “If these tough new penalties don’t deter rogue shipping operators from putting our seas at risk, we are giving Maritime Safety officers new powers to detain a vessel which poses a pollution risk in our waters and ensure appropriate action is taken to rectify the problem before the ship is allowed to operate again.”

    Penalties are expected to come into effect within the next month.

    Media contact: Chris Ward 0418 424 654