Sydney company, MV Wolf Pty Ltd, has pleaded guilty to operating illegally and fined more than $15,000 in the Sydney Magistrates Court on 4 August 2020.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is the national regulator for commercial vessel safety and one of its compliance partners in New South Wales is Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW).
On two occasions in late 2018 TfNSW caught the company operating its 32-metre superyacht party boat MV Wolf illegally on Sydney Harbour without a certificate of operation or certificate of survey as required under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012.
On 7 December 2018, TfNSW inspectors boarded the vessel at Rose Bay Wharf where it was taking 30 paying passengers for a Christmas party. The company was given a formal warning not to operate uncertified.
Just two days later on 9 December 2018, TfNSW inspectors observed the vessel arriving at Rose Bay Wharf after finishing a cruise with another 30 paying passengers. The following day, the company was given a formal direction not to operate MV Wolf commercially.
AMSA General Manager of Operations Allan Schwartz said evidence was provided to AMSA proving the company continued to operate in the weeks that followed.
“We issued the company with an infringement notice for $12,600 in early January for illegally operating the vessel,” Mr Schwartz said.
“They refused to pay the fine and landed themselves in court where the magistrate found them guilty of the same offences but chose to fine them more than $15,000.”
Mr Schwartz condemned the company’s blatant disregard for their responsibilities under the National Law and the safety of their passengers.
"The operator of a vessel engaged in commercial activities has a duty of care to their passengers that extends well beyond that of a recreational vessel operator,” Mr Schwartz said.
"They must have the appropriate certification and safety equipment to ensure their passengers’ safety.
“There are plenty of good operators out there who are doing the right thing, but for the few who deliberately shirk their responsibilities – be warned, the community won’t accept that, other industry operators won’t accept that, and neither will authorities.”