Tanker owners prosecuted for pollution in UK

At a hearing on December 2011 at Southampton Magistrates Court, the owners of a tanker were found guilty under UK maritime pollution legislation. The fine and costs amounted to a total of £95,000.

Overnight on the 10th and 11th January 2011, yellow waxy balls of an unknown material washed ashore on the beaches of East and West Wittering. Samples were collected by the Environment Agency for analysis.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency received information of problems onboard a Panamanian registered tanker. The vessel was boarded and inspected by MCA Port State Control Inspectors on the 25th January 2011. The inspection showed there had been problems in the handling of a previous cargo of Palm Oil. Small yellow waxy balls of material were seen scattered about the deck. Samples of the cargoes were taken and sent for testing by the Environment Agency. Also taken were copies of the ship’s logs and documentation.

A backtrack analysis showed that the Palm Oil that washed up on the beaches of the Solent on the 10/11th January 2011 originated from the Outer Nab Anchorage at a time when the vessel logs showed tank cleaning was in progress. Laboratory analysis showed that samples from the beaches and vessel were the same.

The evidence showed that the tank cleaning residues had not been disposed of in the approved manner.

District Judge Lucie said:

Taking into account all of the evidence I am satisfied so that I am sure that the polluting material came from the Pretty Time and I therefore find the case against the Defendant proved.

Douglas MacDonald, Head of Environmental & Emergency Response Standards at the MCA stated:”This is a timely reminder to all ship owners, ship managers and seafarers to ensure that residues of cargoes are disposed of in the approved manner.We would like to thank the Environment Agency for their help and co-operation in the investigation of this incident.”




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