Skipper a no-show at appeal over Gladstone oil spill fines

THE skipper of a ship that leaked oil in Gladstone marina in 2006 has not turned up for his Court of Appeal application to challenge more than $25,000 in fines and clean-up costs.

The man's vessel became stuck in mud in the marina in September 2006, with fuel pouring out into the water. The vessel was removed by authorities a year later after a court order was obtained.

Boat owner Mark Andrew Bridges was fined for breaches of the Marine Pollution Act, as well as clean-up costs, and was found guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court in May 2010.

Mr Bridges had argued in the Gladstone court that he was on a disability pension and could not afford the hefty fines for breaching the Marine Pollution Act and the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act.

He challenged the subsequent fines and costs in the district court, but the higher jurisdiction upheld the sentences and rejected his appeal.

On Thursday the Court of Appeal said it did not have the power to interfere with findings of fact which Bridges also wished to challenge.

One of the justices said the prospect of a successful appeal was distinctly unpromising and dismissed the appeal application.

Bridges was found guilty in the magistrates court of oil disposal from his ship Battlestar at the marina, not following directions and incorrectly using distress signals.

The tallied fines and costs included $12,500 for clean-up and prosecution costs.

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