UK based company Lombard Corporate Finance Limited, the owner of UK flagged car carrier, Morning Midas, was convicted, fined $5000 and ordered to pay costs after it was found guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday, July 18, of contravening section 26F (3) of the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.
The charges relate to a collision between the pilot launch Wyuna III and a mooring line discarded by Morning Midas in the early hours of August 1, 2012 in Port Phillips Heads.
The 30-35m mooring line was found discarded in the vicinity of the pilot boarding station outside Port Phillip Heads when Wyuna III collided with it, fouling its propellers and stalling both engines.
An AMSA investigation found charts indicating two GPS locations from Morning Midas’Deck Log Bookand the site of the collision of the Wyuna III with the mooring line.
The location of the discharge was within Australian territorial waters in or near the pilot boarding ground and Morning Midas failed to report a danger to navigation posed by the mooring line, according to AMSA.
Acting Ship Safety Division General Manager Alex Schultz-Altmann said the area, south west of Point Lonsdale and close to Port Phillips Heads, is a focal point of maritime traffic of all shapes and sizes entering or departing Port Phillip Bay.
“An estimated 3100 merchant vessels alone visit the port each year,” Mr Schultz-Altmann said.
“Any danger to navigation posed by pollution such as a discarded mooring line could have catastrophic consequences for the safety of ships and potential environmental harm.
“It is fortunate the unreported hazard of the discarded mooring line did not cause damage to the steering or propulsion of any larger commercial ships in the pilot boarding ground of Port Phillip Heads.”