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Dawson & Associates Ltd - Dawson & Associates, maritime and fisheries law specialists, Nelson New Zealand

When is an owner not an owner?

 

On 16 August 2017, the Magistrates Court of Tasmania decision in Jo Goudie v Talley’s Longline Limited brought clarity to the question of where liability should rest when the registered owner of a vessel on demise charter is prosecuted for the actions of crew employed by the demise charterer.

Talley’s are the registered owner of the vessel Janas and were charged under S 8(1) of the Pollution of Oily Waters by Oil and Noxious Substances Act 1987 (the Act) for an accidental discharge of 500 litres of diesel into Hobart harbour.

The Act is a local statute designed to give effect to the MARPOL Convention.  At the time of the accidental spill, the vessel was bareboat (demise) chartered to a third party and the chief engineer was employed by the third party. The court found that ‘owner’ for the purpose of the Tasmanian Act, included the demise charter and the charges against Talley’s were withdrawn and preferred against the demise charterer. 

A copy of the judgment can be found here.

Talley’s was represented by Dawson and Associates and assisted by Murdoch Clarke in Hobart.

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