BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
The vessel master of bulk carrier Quebec has pleaded guilty to dumping around 1,000 litres of oil into the sea at Graciosa Bay, Temotu province.
He pleaded guilty to all five counts against him and will be sentenced on March 26 at the High Court.
The vessel master who is a Vietnamese national was charged with the following counts;
Count-one; discharge of pollutants contrary to regulation 9(2) and (3) of the Shipping (Marine Pollution) Regulations 2011.
Penalty: A fine not exceeding 5000 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.
Count-two; Failing to comply with operational requirements of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) 1973/1978 contrary to regulation 8(1) and (2)(a) of the Shipping (Marine Pollution) Regulations 2011.
Penalty: A fine not exceeding 5000 penalty units, and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both
Count-six; Making a false report contrary to regulation 16(1) and (4)(b) of the Shipping (Marine Pollution) Regulations 2011
Penalty: A fine not exceeding 5000 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both.
Count-seven; Failing to comply with instructions contrary to regulation 27 and 29(1)(a) of the Shipping (Marine Pollution) Regulations 2011
Penalty: A fine not exceeding 5000 penalty units, and to an additional fine of 1000 penalty units for each day during which the offence continues
Count-nine; Taking an unsafe vessel to sea contrary to section 81(1)(e) and (2) of the Shipping Act 1998.
Penalty: A fine not exceeding sixty thousand dollars
Director of Public Prosecution Rachel Olutimayin said the vessel, when the incident happened, had carried 21 crews, all Vietnamese nationals.
Ms Olutimayin said the vessel was registered in Panama and is used to carry wooden logs from the Solomon Islands, and the vessel’s headquarter is in Singapore and they are represented here in the Solomon Islands by Sol fish limited.
She said the vessel MV Quebec, on January 20, 2021 anchored at Graciosa Bay in Lata. The heavy oil was discharged to the sea from the vessel’s engine room through the main fire line and this was witnessed by boarding agents whom they estimated that the spilling was set to 6 to 7 minutes between 500 to 1000 heavy oil and the discharge polluted about one kilometre of beach and mangrove at the bottom of Graciosa bay.
Olutimayin also submits that any penalty imposed should be a fine and will be paid to the Solomon Islands Marine Authority.
Meanwhile counsel for the defendant Wilson Rano also suggests to consider fine as an appropriate penalty for the defendant.