Web Alert: Marine polluters in Australia – beware of hefty fines

News & Insights 12 August 2018


The recent rise of the penalty unit has increased the maximum fine for a spill in Commonwealth waters to $4.2m for a master and $21m for a corporate owner or charterer.

As of 1 July 2018, most of the states across Australia have increased their penalty unit value, while the Commonwealth has also increased the applicable penalty unit.

The state penalties apply to oil spills within 3 nautical miles off the coast. The Commonwealth legislation and penalties apply to oil spills beyond 3 nautical miles.

The recent rise of the penalty unit has increased the maximum fine for a spill in Commonwealth waters to $4.2m for a master and $21m for a corporate owner or charterer.

HWL Ebsworth lawyers have provided a detailed table of the updated applicable fines across Australia.

We highly recommend that our members take extra care when involved in trade to Australia and make sure they take immediate steps to deal with a potential oil spill as this can result to significant liabilities and penalties.​

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