Department of Environmental Affairs welcomes the criminal sentence for polluting South African waters

26 November 2018


The Department of Environmental Affairs welcomes the criminal conviction of the Captain of the Ukrainian registered fishing vessel, More Sodruzhestva, who was found guilty of discharging sewage into South African coastal waters.

The accused was sentenced to pay a fine of R300 000 or serve 24 months imprisonment of which half was suspended for 5 years on condition that the accused is not convicted of contravening certain other environmental law provisions. 

This conviction is the first of its kind for South Africa. In addition, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (“SAMSA”) raised various Admissions of Contravention (AoC) against both the Master and the Owners of the vessel which resulted in a total penalty of 1.7 million Rand in respect of, amongst others, failure to comply with domestic legislation which gives effect to the MARPOL convention to which South Africa is a signatory. 

This case is another success which resulted from South Africa’s participation in INTERPOL’s 30 Days at Sea global operation.  This operation was a month-long (1-31 October) operation which saw some 276 law enforcement and environmental agencies across 58 countries detect over 500 offences, including illegal discharges of oil and garbage from vessels, shipbreaking, breaches of ship emissions regulations, and pollution on rivers and land-based runoff to the sea.

Within South Africa the operation was executed through the integrated enforcement programme of Operation Phakisa, which involves Environmental and Fisheries authorities, Maritime and Border Agencies, National Police, Customs, Intelligence Structures and Port Authorities. Many of the activities undertaken during the 30 Days operation were intelligence driven, ensuring the maximum impact. 

The sentence serves as confirmation of South Africa’s commitment to combat marine pollution crime.

South Africans are encouraged to continue reporting all environmental crimes on the Environmental Crime hotline details below:  0800 205 005 /

For media queries please contact:

Zolile Nqayi
Cell: 082 898 6483/