FEDERAL POLICE CHARGE SHIPS MASTER WITH ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME

Australian Federal Agents this week charged the master of a Greek registered vessel with entering a prohibited area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). This is the first instance of a person being prosecuted under this environmental legislation since it came into effect on 19 July 2001.

The AFP, assisted by the GBRMPA and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service offices, commenced an investigation into the allegations surrounding the vessel's movements on 9 January.

The 70000 tonne bulk coal carrier is alleged to have travelled through an area of the GBRMP from which it was excluded. The ship's master appeared in the Gladstone Magistrate' court to face charges under section 38M(2) of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act. The man pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined $10,000, in default to be imprisoned for six months.