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Civil Penalties

MMS Publishes Offshore Violations Summary

The Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) published in the Federal Register a summary of civil penalties paid last year by oil and natural gas companies for violations occurring in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The summary identifies the company name, the specific offshore activity in violation of the law, and the fine paid. The total penalty amount paid in 1998 by 27 companies was $1.3 million. The MMS is responsible for ensuring safe and clean offshore operations in the OCS. The civil penalty process is designed to encourage companies to comply with the statutes and regulations by pursuing, assessing, and collecting penalties. OPA 90 expanded and strengthened MMS' authority to impose penalties for violating its regulations. Section 8201 of the Act gives the Secretary of the Interior the authority to assess a civil penalty without providing notice and time for corrective action where a failure to comply with applicable regulations results in a threat of serious, irreparable, or immediate harm or damage to human life or the environment. Since 1990, MMS has initiated 250 civil penalty reviews and collected more than $2.7 million.


BOEMRE Ups OCSLA and OPA Penalties

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced that the maximum civil penalty rate for Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) violations will increase from $35,000 to $40,000 per day; and from $25,000 to $30,000 per day for Oil Pollution Act (OPA) financial responsibility violations. The increases coincide with adjustments in inflation, as required by OCSLA and OPA. The Obama administration has requested that Congress pass legislation to further raise


Offshore News

R&B Falcon Confirms U.S. Gulf Development Plans Reading & Bates Development Co. (DEVCO), a wholly owned subsidiary of R&B Falcon Corporation, announced its Boomvang Project in deepwater offshore Texas is proceeding rapidly. DEVCO concurs with previously announced reserve estimates of 70-100 million boe in several oil reservoirs extending across portions of East Breaks Blocks 642, 643, 688 and 732. Platform, production facilities and pipeline contracts are being evaluated


Washington-Civil Penalties for Pollution

The Washington State Department of Ecology has summarized civil penalties it assessed during the second quarter of 2006 for pollution incidents. Among others on the list were three marine-related parties. Two of the penalties indicate the possibility that the Department has become too zealous in its mission. In June, the captain of the vessel Nu C was fined $9,000 after approximately 575 gallons of diesel and hydraulic oil spilled into Grays Harbor when the vessel crashed into the North


TSA Complaint Settled

The Federal Maritime Commission issued a Press Release stating that the Commission has entered into a settlement agreement with the major ocean carrier agreements and their members who serve the inbound waterborne U.S. trades with Asia, including the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) and two TSA-related bridging agreements. The settlement addresses carrier practices and provides, among other things, for payment of $1,350


Hawaii Ship Repairers Fined $700,000

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Hawaii State Department of Health settle with Marisco Ltd for pollution offences. The violations took place at Marisco's ship repair and drydock facilities at Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor on Oahu. This is the largest Clean Water Act civil penalty against a ship repair facility nationwide.
 The settlement, a consent decree, was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and


Puget Sound Has New Tank Ship Security Zone

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary moving security zone of 500 yards surrounding tank ships while within the waters of Puget Sound and adjacent waters, WA. All vessels within 500 yards of a tank ship shall operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course, and shall proceed as directed by the Official Patrol or tank ship master. The Official Patrol will consist of a Coast Guard patrol, or a General Authority Washington Peace Officer


TSA – Revision to Enforcement Procedure

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an interim final rule revising its Investigative and Enforcement Procedures to conform to the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007. The rule establishes procedures by which TSA may assess civil penalties for violations of any statutory requirement administered by TSA, including Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) requirements. The revisions come into effect on August 20


Is it Safer to Work Offshore in 2013?

Jon Waldron

It has been over three years since the tragic accident occurred aboard the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010.  The industry and the relevant federal agencies have done much to put in place improved safeguards to prevent such an accident – which left 11 dead and 17 injured – from happening again.  Congress, on the other hand, has done little to intervene to force new requirements on either the federal government or industry


Ex-BP Employee Settles Insider-trading Oil Spill Case

A former 20-year veteran of BP plc who oversaw the company's cleanup efforts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will pay more than $224,000 to settle civil charges alleging he used non-public information about the disaster to commit insider-trading, U.S. regulators said on Thursday. The Securities and Exchange Commission said that Keith A. Seilhan, 47, will settle the case without admitting or denying the charges.


Reminder Stresses Importance of Accurate Clearance Information

The Captain of the Port, New York-New Jersey, has issued a reminder about the importance of providing accurate clearance information, and warns that civil penalties may be pursued against any vessel owner, master or person in charge that provides inaccurate information that contributes to a bridge


Coast Guard Seizes Illegal Catch, Crew Member Injured

US Coast Guard

  The Coast Guard interdicted a Mexican fishing crew poaching in South Texas, Thursday, after it was pursued by a Coast Guard aircraft and intercepted by the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Cobia. In an unrelated incident after intercepting the lancha


Safety Zone for L'Auberge 4th of July Celebration

The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port New Orleans, under the authority of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, will establish a safety zone on the Lower Mississippi River, Above Head of Passes, from MM 215.0 to MM 217.0, in the vicinity of the L'Auberge Casino, Baton Rouge, LA


BP 'Grossly Negligent' in 2010 US Spill, Fines Could Be $18b

Discoverer Inspiration arrives to install the capping stack in July 2010 (Photo: BP)

A U.S. judge has decided that BP Plc was "grossly negligent" and "reckless" in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill four years ago, a ruling that could add nearly $18 billion in fines to more than $42 billion in charges the company took for the worst offshore environmental disaster in U


Transocean: Agreement Reached on Deepwater Horizon Claims

Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX: RIGN) announced that it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve certain outstanding civil and potential criminal claims against the company arising from the April 20, 2010, accident involving the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of


Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Transocean Sentenced

Transocean pleads guilty, sentenced to pay $400-million in penalties for criminal conduct leading to the disaster. Transocean Deepwater Inc. has pleaded guilty to a violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for its illegal conduct leading to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster


To Report or Not to Report - That Should Never be the Question

Randy Oneill headshot web.jpg

In the realm of marine casualties and incidents, each case has its own set of facts, cast of mariners and vessels involved and, frequently, sharp differences of opinion regarding same.  The one common denominator of most marine casualties, however, is the requirement to report them to the U.S


The Macondo Spill Trial

Fire boat crews battle blazing remnants of the Deepwater Horizon rig the day after it exploded on April 20, 2010.  (Photo U.S. Coast Guard)

Offshore U.S. Gulf energy operators have already paid a steep price; more pain could come. Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is now close to levels seen before the April 2010 Macondo spill that took 11 lives and caused the nation’s worst offshore oil spill


BSEE Cites 12 Operators for Neglecting SEMS Audits

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno cited 12 offshore operators for their failure to demonstrate compliance with the Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) requirements of the Workplace Safety Rule, 30 CFR Subpart S


USCG Issues Fines for Tank Response Plan Noncompliance

The Coast Guard has issued monetary penalties to three vessel operators in violation of federal regulations related to tank vessel response plan requirements. The vessels Pacific Galaxy, operated by Synergy Maritime PET, Tamar, operated by MTM Ship Management, and Yayoi Express


MARPOL Reception Facility Inadequacies

In recent months, the Coast Guard received complaints alleging that certain waterfront facilities within the Sector Houston-Galveston area of responsibility are charging an unreasonable price to remove MARPOL residues/waste from vessels.


Two Car Carriers Pay $2.3 Million in Penalties

The Federal Maritime Commission announced compromise agreements reached with two common carriers operating pure car carriers (PCCs) and roll on/roll off (RO/RO) vessels in U.S. inbound and outbound trades. Under these separate agreements, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd


FMC Recovers $350,000 in Penalties

FMC_seal.JPG

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced that it has completed compromise agreements recovering a total of $350,000 in civil penalties. The agreements were reached with a vessel-operating common carrier and three non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs)


US EPA Serves ECA Suspected Violation Subpoenas

File photo

 U.S. EPA has served subpoenas in connection with the investigation into potential violations of MARPOL Annex and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) following the coming into force of the North American Emissions Control Area (ECA) on 1, August 2012.


Air Draft Alert: Bayonne Bridge Struck Twice this Year

Bayonne Bridge: Wiki CCL credit Lamune

The Bayonne Bridge is undergoing a two-year construction project to raise the roadway an average of 65 feet. The Captain of the Port, New York-New Jersey says that it has been struck twice in the past 4 months. The Captain of the Port, New York-New Jersey






 
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