14 Oct 2011

Ship owner fined over Queensland oil spill

8:56 pm on 14 October 2011

The owners of a ship responsible for Queensland's worst oil spill have been fined a total of $A1.2 million.

In 2009, the Pacific Adventurer leaked more than 270,000 litres of oil into Moreton Bay when the fuel tank was ruptured by shipping containers that tumbled overboard in rough seas.

The ABC reports that the court was told the lashing equipment used to hold the containers in place had not been adequately maintained.

The owners of the vessel, Blue Wind Shipping Ltd and Swire Navigation Company Ltd, pleaded guilty to disposing oil into the ocean.

Lawyers for the companies argued for a joint fine, but the judge hearing the case said both companies were equally culpable and ordered them to pay $A600,000 each and to publish an apology for the incident.

Beaches in the region were coated with the oil and the company has already paid $A25 million towards the cost of the clean up.

The levy paid by shipping companies was temporarily increased by 3 cents to 14 cents a tonne to help meet the total cost of the clean-up of $A31 million.