Satellite Imagery Busts Maersk Tanker in UK Pollution Case

At a hearing today at Truro Magistrates Court in the UK, Maersk Tankers Singapore was ordered to pay a total of £22,500 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to a breach of UK maritime pollution legislation.

For the first time ever, satellite imagery was used as primary evidence in a maritime pollution case brought about by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

On 25 February 2012 a satellite operated by European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) detected the Singapore-registered Maersk Kiera trailing a slick in the waters between Lands End and the Scilly Isles.

According to the MCA, the vessel was contacted by Falmouth Coastguard to query whether they were carrying out tank cleaning operations as they had satellite imagery of oil traces in the track of the Maersk Kiera. The Master confirmed to Falmouth Coastguard that tank cleaning and associated discharge following a cargo of palm oil was indeed being undertaken, but that they were complying with International requirements.




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