Kirby Offshore Marine Operating LLC ordered to pay $2.9 million after pleading guilty to three charges of violating federal environmental legislation
July 17, 2019 – Bella Bella, British Columbia – Environment and Climate Change Canada
The Government of Canada enforces the laws that protect Canada’s air, water, and natural environment, and we take pollution incidents and threats to the environment very seriously.
On July 16, 2019, Kirby Offshore Marine Operating LLC was sentenced in the Provincial Court of British Columbia, in Bella Bella, after pleading guilty to three charges of violating federal legislation, in connection with an October 13, 2016, spill from the vessel Nathan E. Stewart into Seaforth Channel near Bella Bella, British Columbia.
The company was sentenced to pay the following penalties:
- $2.7 million for the offence of depositing a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish, in violation of the Fisheries Act;
- $200,000 for the offence of depositing a substance harmful to migratory birds, in violation of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; and
- $5,000 for the offence of failing to comply with the pilotage requirements under the Pilotage Act.
The $2.7 million penalty imposed under the Fisheries Act is the largest fine for the deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish from a single spill. This penalty will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund and is recommended to be used toward the conservation of fish and fish habitat in the Central Coast region of British Columbia. The $200,000 penalty for the offence under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 will also be directed to the Fund.
On October 13, 2016, the tug boat Nathan E. Stewart ran aground at Edge Reef near Bella Bella, British Columbia, resulting in the release of approximately 107,552 litres (28,412 gallons) of diesel fuel and 2,240 litres (591 gallons) of lubricants. Both substances are deleterious to fish and migratory birds. Kirby Offshore Marine Operating LLC owned the Nathan E. Stewart.
As a result of the federal conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for administering and enforcing the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, which prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.
- Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for administering and enforcing the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, which aims to protect and conserve migratory bird populations as well as individual birds and their nests. The Act prohibits the deposit of harmful substances into areas frequented by migratory birds as well as other human activities that are potentially harmful to migratory birds.
- The Pilotage Act was enacted in Canada in 1972 and provides the legislative framework for the provision of marine pilotage services.
- Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The fund follows the polluter pays principle, and it ensures that court-awarded penalties are used for projects with positive environmental impacts.
- The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.
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