622 - 2/09 - Unfair Penalties - Black Sea Ports
Georgian Law contains a provision that any pollution incident carries a minimum fine of US$4,000. This lower limit is applied even in cases where the evidence is unsubstantial and cases deemed unfair.
When the Georgian Environmental Organization alleges a pollution incident and imposes a fine, the fine is normally immediately acknowledged by the local courts. Owners must comply with the judgement otherwise the vessel will remain detained.
When a vessel is detained the master is brought before the local court, facing allegations of pollution. The defendant/owners and its P&I Club are not in a position to defend the claim or provide any evidence which may contest the allegation.