The owners of the pure care and truck carrier (PCTC) Morning Midas have been fined A$5000 and ordered to pay costs after the Melbourne Magistrates Court ruled that the crew of the vessel had discarded a 30-35 meter mooring line into Port Phillip Bay while in Melbourne in 2012, a violation of section 26F (3) of the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983.
The 2006-built ship is owned by Lombard Corporate Finance Limited and operated by EUKOR.
The charges stem from a resultant collision between the pilot launch Wyuna III and a mooring line discarded by Morning Midas in the early hours of August 1, 2012.
The 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, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
An AMSA investigation found charts indicating two GPS locations from Morning Midas’ Deck Log Book and 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.
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,” commented Mr Schultz-Altmann. “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.”
Ships are required to report any pollution or navigational hazards under the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act.