Bligh rejects Swire offer
Queensland premier Anna Bligh has threatened bans against shipping company Swire after she rejected a compensation offer over one of Australia’s worst environmental disasters.
On March 11, the Pacific Adventurer cargo ship lost 31 containers overboard in rough seas caused by Cyclone Hamish.
Some of the containers holed the vessel, spilling 270,000 litres of fuel oil onto southeast Queensland beaches and triggering a massive clean-up.
Bill Rothery, chairman of ship owners John Swire and Sons, told reporters he had put an offer on the table during talks with the premier in Brisbane on Wednesday.
“We have put a proposal to the state government - it’s a substantial offer, which will exceed the $14.5 million in legal responsibilities that we have at this stage,” Mr Rothery said.
The offer includes compensation for small businesses affected by the spill.
Valid claims would be paid in full, Mr Rothery said.
Ms Bligh told reporters the Swire offer was not good enough.
She said the government would now consider an across-the-board shipping levy to protect the environment and “flat bans” on Swire interests, including Cathay Pacific.
“Frankly it’s an offer that is just not good enough,” Ms Bligh said.
“We have a long way to go before the Queensland taxpayer can be adequately reimbursed.
”We shouldn’t settle for second best.“
The cost of the clean-up to the state government and local councils has been estimated at $34 million.