Department of National Defence ordered to pay $100,000 for spill

HMCS St. John's (FFH 340) sailing into Charleston Harbor, SC, USA. The spill occured during a routine operation on the ship. CC by Kevinbercaw, Wikimedia.

The Department of National Defence (DND) was sentenced on April 11, 2016, in Halifax Provincial Court to pay a penalty of $100,000 after pleading guilty to violating the Fisheries Act.

The charges stem from a May 8, 2013, incident where approximately 9,000 litres of diesel fuel was spilled from HMCS St. John’s into Halifax Harbour while the vessel was at anchor. This led to several reports of a large sheen in the harbour and a strong smell of diesel fuel in the surrounding area.

DND representatives reported the diesel fuel spill on the morning of May 8, 2013, and participated in efforts to contain and recover the spill over the next several days. According to the CBC, the fuel leaked happened when diesel was being transferred between two tanks on HMCS St. John’s. The transfer was a “routine procedure that is done often to stabilize vessels in preparation of refueling later in the day.”

On January 30, 2015, Environment and Climate Change Canada charged DND for an alleged violation of the Fisheries Act.

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Of the $100,000 penalty, $98,000 will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

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