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Friday, April 20, 2018

NEW BRAZILIAN ANTIPOLLUTION LAW

A most severe antipollution law was enacted on 28 April 2000.

A pollution “incident” may be the leakage of oil, the jettisoning of noxious wastes, the pumping out of ballast water (except under strictly controlled circumstances) and even the throwing overboard of garbage etc. It will have no bearing if the “incident” is caused by an accident or by a wilful act. Apart from steps taken to control and to minimise its consequences, any pollution incident must be reported to local authorities, though this will not relieve the causer from a fine or other sanctions.

Municipal, state and federal bodies are to liaise closely in the detecting, investigating, reporting and the punishing of pollution “incidents”. Apart from the obligation to eliminate the effects of the pollution and to indemnify those who have suffered losses (including damage to private and public properties and to the environment), the penalties may go from the imposing of fines to the bringing of civil and criminal charges, as well as the detention of the ship, in a few cases. The party responsible for an “incident” is also liable to reimburse expenses incurred in the controlling or minimising of the effects of the pollution.

The penalty or fine may vary from R$7,000 (today about USD 3,900) to R$50,000,000 (today about USD 28,000,000). However, the criterion to be used in assessing the fine still depends on a regulation through a federal Decree. According to the law, the responsibility of an “incident” may be ascribed to the owner (proprietary) – or his legal representative - the manager and even the master or a particular member of the crew of the ship, apart from other entities and persons.

This means that extreme care must be taken by those on board the ship to avoid the occurrence of any pollution “incident” whilst calling at a Brazilian port.

Source: Shipping Consultoria, Rio de Janeiro