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Bail set for ship captain in Australian oil spill

Bail set for ship captain in Australian oil spill

The captain of a cargo ship that spilled 71,300 gallons (270,000 liters) of oil into Australian waters was granted bail Friday after three weeks confined to his vessel.
Manila-based Capt. Bernardino Gonzales Santos appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court to face the charge of discharging oil into the waters off Queensland state last month.
The oil spilled March 11 when shipping containers on the Pacific Adventurer freighter fell overboard in a storm, rupturing the hull. Cleanup of the oil that washed up on Queensland beaches has so far cost 15 million Australian dollars ($10.8 million).
Santos was forced to hand over his passport and stay on board the Pacific Adventurer following the incident.
On Friday, lawyer Tony Glynn told the court that Santos was the only breadwinner for his wife and two children.
"I think it's likely there will be prosecutions against other parties with much deeper pockets than my client," Glynn said.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan granted Santos bail, allowing him to leave Australia and continue navigating ships through Australian waters. The judge set another hearing for June.
The charge against him carries a maximum penalty of AU$350,000 ($250,000).
The ship is owned by Britain's Swire Shipping Ltd.
Prosecutor Peter Davis said investigations against Swire were continuing, and it was likely legal action would be taken against the firm so the government could get compensation for the cleanup costs.


Updated : 2021-10-24 19:41 GMT+08:00