According to Australian sources, an international shipping company was said to have dumped 90 tonnes of oil into Queensland waters; The company is, now, pushed to provide the evidence at a pre-trial hearing.
The shipping company is accused of dumping oil off Queensland during a voyage from Singapore to New Zealand, about July 16, 2015. The oil-affected sites included Forrest Beach on the mainland, Hinchinbrook Island and the Palm Island group.
At that time, the bulk carrier was owned by the Panama-based company Globex Shipping under the name ‘Regina’. From that time, the vessel has been renamed and sold to a Korean company, according to court documents.
The Brisbane Times report that shipping registers show the ship is now registered in Malta, known as the Kamenitza and owned by Bulgarian shipping company Navibulgar.
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The vessel is facing fines of up to $17 million under Commonwealth law, as the vessel and its master conducted offences under the Protection of the Sea Act in 2017.
Moreover, the accused company was scheduled to appear in the Townsville Magistrates Court to begin pre-trial proceedings. However the company’s lawyers argued they had “not been effectively served” with summons to appear.
As a result, Townsville Magistrate Ross Mack ordered Globex Shipping to come to court. The company later argued that they had not been served summons and appealed the decision in the Supreme Court in 2018. That decision was overturned in the Court of Appeal.
In the appeal decision, Justice Hugh Fraser stated that the magistrate did have jurisdiction to hear evidence from witnesses in pre-trial hearings.
Overall, oil pollution is considered one of the most significant damages to the marine environment and most of the times the offenders are fined.