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Luxury yacht skipper fined $8,000 over sewage release

Magistrates Court (file photograph)

The captain of a luxury yacht was fined $8,000 in Magistrates Court after he admitted that the vessel released sewage into St George’s Harbour over the Bermuda Heroes Weekend.

Marc Pearson, 38, pleaded guilty to both discharging sewage in a no-discharge zone and leaving a seacock valve — intended to control the release of sewage — open in an incident on Monday.

Pearson apologised for the incident and said he had taken steps to ensure that it would not happen again.

He added: “I hope that some of the money goes to proper signage and education for people coming into the waters as there is nothing at the port or on the websites.

“I hope it’s used in the proper way because its quite inadequate what they have down there.”

The court heard yesterday that on Monday, a government environmental engineer received a video which appeared to show the 80ft Zanabe releasing sewage near Ordnance Island.

Under the law, it is illegal for boats to discharge sewage into the water within 500 metres of the high-water mark of the nearest land or anywhere within the Great Sound, the Little Sound, Granaway Deep, Hamilton Harbour, Harrington Sound, Castle Harbour, St George’s Harbour or areas declared protected under the Fisheries (Protected Areas) Order.

The engineer went to St George’s and boarded the boat and spoke to Pearson as the ship’s owner was not on board.

Pearson said he was made aware of the issue because the Bermuda coastguard had already spoken to him about it.

The court heard that the maximum penalty for both offences was $5,000, but the Crown recommended $4,000 fines for each charge.

Magistrate Maxanne Anderson said efforts must be taken to protect Bermuda’s waters and fined Pearson $4,000 for both offences.

Mark Soares, of Bermuda Yacht Services, said that all ships that dock in the Town of St George are required to sign a berthing form which warns that no discharge into the harbour is allowed and breaches would carry a fine.

Mr Soares added that as part of the St George’s marina project, it is hoped that pump-out facilities would be made available for yachts visiting the town.

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