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Carnival Australia to provide '$2.1m undertaking' after Great Barrier Reef spill

Carnival Australia has been compelled to provide a "$2.1m undertaking" after spilling 28,000 litres of liquid food waste into the Great Barrier Reef's protected waters.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority detained the Pacific Explorer cruise ship on its way back to Sydney in early September until it paid the amount, which was equal to the maximum fine available, an AMSA spokesman said on Thursday. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was notified of the accident one week after the cruise company self-reported it. An investigation is currently underway.

A Senate estimates hearing was told of the incident last month, after the Greens senator Larissa Waters asked executives from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority what occurred. Senators were told AMSA had alerted the marine park authority of the P&O spill, and Maritime Safety Queensland responded to the incident. An AMSA report supplied to Waters anonymously said the spill occurred on 26 August after food waste was transferred to the Pacific Explorer's galley holding tank due to a shortage in capacity in its food waste tanks.

Waste from the galley tank was then discharged by engineers in the marine park. The report says the vessel became aware of the incident late on 27 August. Senators heard P&O reported the spill to Amsa but the marine park authority was not informed until 4 September. Waters questioned why the incident had not been made public.

"It shouldn't have taken an anonymous source and me asking questions in estimates for the public to find out about this," she said. "If a major cruise ship company thinks that the public won't find out about their pollution, then they are less likely to take the issue seriously."The public have a right to know about pollution breaches in our Great Barrier Reef and the government should be upfront about such incidents."

A spokeswoman for P&O said it was an isolated incident. "Any unintentional discharge of food waste would have been in the order of seven cubic metres," she said. 

Source: The Guardian 


Päivitetty/Updated: 08.11.2018

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