Ship accident washes up $36,000 fines
A SHIP owner and his company must pay more than $36,000 in fines and legal costs following the running aground of a ship off Rainbow Beach in 2013.
TD Le, who owns the business TD Le and Sons, did not appear before Brisbane magistrate Judith Daley on Monday to take part in what was expected to be two-day hearing.
Despite the defendant's non-appearance, the case went ahead and was dealt with in under 30 minutes.
Prosecutor Anthony Loudon, for the Department of Transport and on behalf of Marine Safety Queensland, told the court that a fishing ship owned by Mr Le's company ran aground on a sandbar in November of 2013 after its electronic steering became inoperable.
Mr Loudon said that despite warnings from a seasoned fisherman, the skipper decided to switch to manual steering and tried to move the trawler, called Moray, towards safety.
The ship hit a sandbar and fell on its side during high tide, leaking about 6800 litres of diesel into the ocean.
Mr Loudon said there was no environmental damage from the spill.
However, he said the defendant and his company did not make any attempts to remove the ship and they did not bother telling authorities about the accident.
Mr Loudon said it cost about $152,000 to recover the vessel and to keep it in storage where it remains three years after the incident.
Mr Loudon said the government would have to take civil court action to recover these costs but he was not sure whether this would take place.
In finding TD Le and Son and Mr Le guilty of three charges, Ms Daley ordered them to pay a combined $35,000 in fines and $1500 in legal costs.
The company and Mr Le were charged with failing to provide written notice of a marine accident.
Mr Le was also charged with being the owner of a ship that discharged oil into coastal waters and not having the required insurance to recover salvage costs. - ARM NEWSDESK