Coastal Shipping Limited, which is owned by Woodward Group of Companies, will be going to court Jan. 14 to face three charges stemming from an incident that is alleged to have occurred on one of their ships on Sept. 19, 2009. The trial is scheduled to last five days and will take place in Port Hope Simpson.
Crown Prosecutor Lee-Ann Conrod says the company was charged in connection with an oil spill that occurred in the waters near Fox Harbour. Charges were officially laid by Environment Canada on June 30, 2011. The charges the company is facing are; unlawfully depositing deleterious substance in water, failure to report deposit of deleterious substance, and failure to take reasonable measures under section 38(5) of the Fisheries Act. If Coastal Shipping Limited is found guilty of all three charges they face total maximum fines of $700,000.
"These charges under the Fisheries Act are significant," says Conrod. "It's under environmental protection legislation, so they're quite serious."
Ship's captain Bradley Doyle is also facing charges, in relation to the same incident, under the Fisheries Act. His trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 22 in Port Hope Simpson.
The maximum fines, under the legislation, are $700,000 if the company is found guilty of all three charges.
According to Conrod, ability to pay is considered by the courts in sentencing. There's also a possibility of an individual being able to serve jail time if they cannot pay the fines.
"If a fine is levied, and an individual can not pay, there's a formula for how much jail time (he will receive)," says Conrod.
Representatives from Environment Canada aren't saying much at this time. But they did issue a brief written statement to the Labradorian.
"On June 30, 2011, Environment Canada laid charges under the federal Fisheries Act against Coastal Shipping Limited and Captain Bradley Doyle. As this matter is before the courts it would be inappropriate to comment further," said media relations spokesman Mark Johnson.
Representatives from the Woodward Group of Companies also declined to comment at this time.