Shipping Companies Sentenced for Environmental Crimes

U.S. Department of Justice
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two Shipping Corporations Plead Guilty and Are Sentenced in Maryland for Obstruction of Justice and Environmental Crimes; Companies Each Sentenced to Pay $1.2 Million, Including $550,000 to Benefit Chesapeake Bay.

 

Two corporations pleaded guilty today in separate hearings in Baltimore for their role in managing and owning a ship engaged in deliberate discharges of waste oil and plastic garbage. The companies were each sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis to pay $1.2 million and serve three years of probation during which they will be required to implement a government approved environmental plan that includes audits conducted by an independent firm and review by a court appointed monitor.    

 

Efploia Shipping, a Marshall Islands corporation based in Greece, was the technical manager of the M/V Aquarosa, a 33,005 gross ton newly built cargo ship, constructed in China and registered in Malta. Aquarosa Shipping, a company based in Denmark, was the owner of the vessel. Both corporations pleaded guilty today to four felony counts: obstruction of justice, making material false statements, and the environmental crimes of knowingly failing to maintain an accurate oil record book and knowingly failing to maintain an accurate garbage record book, both in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS). 

 

According to papers filed in court, senior ship engineers started dumping oil contaminated bilge waste on the ship’s very first voyage after it was completed in June 2010 in China. One method involved removing the blocking mechanism inside a valve so that waste could be pumped overboard. Another method involved a so-called “magic pipe” consisting of a long rubber hose and metal flanges welded together onboard to bypass required pollution prevention equipment. 

 

The investigation began after an engineer complained to the U.S. Coast Guard when the ship arrived in Baltimore in February 2011. The crew member provided the Coast Guard with his cell phone containing 300 photographs showing how a magic pipe was being used to discharge sludge and oily waste overboard and to bypass the ship’s oily water separator, a required piece of pollution prevention equipment.   Plastic garbage bags containing oil soaked rags were also dumped overboard. Under MARPOL, an international treaty to which the United States is a party and which is enforced by the APPS, ships must maintain an oil record book and a garbage record book in which all such discharges are recorded. Both defendants admitted to deliberately falsifying these required logs. 

 

The ship’s Chief Engineer, Andreas Konstantinidis, is currently incarcerated for his role. He pleaded guilty in December to obstruction of justice charges and was sentenced to three months in prison. 

 

Both Efploia Shipping and Aquarosa Shipping were sentenced to pay a total of $1.2 million. Of that amount, each defendant was ordered to pay $275,000 in organizational community service payments to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation which will receive a total of $550,000 earmarked for projects involving Chesapeake Bay. 

 

At the hearing today, the United States requested that the court issue an award to the whistleblower whose information led to the conviction of the defendants. The court did not rule on the matter today.

 

“The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute the intentional dumping of oil and plastic from ships and falsification of ship records because they are serious crimes that threaten our precious ocean resources,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. 

 

“The defendants dumped pollution into the ocean and falsified records to prevent the Coast Guard from learning about it,” said Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.   “More than $500,000 of the penalty proceeds will fund conservation efforts for the Chesapeake Bay, our nation’s largest and most diverse estuary.”

 

“The Coast Guard's objective when investigating violations and supporting these prosecutions is to ensure environmental stewardship is not optional and that deliberate violators are held accountable,” said Coast Guard Capt. Mark O'Malley, Captain of the Port of Baltimore. “This sentence includes a requirement that these defendants develop and implement a comprehensive environmental compliance program that will be monitored by third-party auditors. Our inter-agency efforts are not just aimed at punishing misconduct, they are aimed at fostering a safe, environmentally conscious and professional marine industry,”

 

 “This case was resolved through excellent partnership between the regulatory and enforcement divisions of the U.S. Coast Guard, and also the dedicated pursuit of justice by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Department of Justice and EPA-CID” said Otis E. Harris Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, Coast Guard Investigative Service Chesapeake Region. “The Coast Guard Investigative Service is fully committed to investigating and resolving all criminal allegations of violations of environmental and regulatory statutes.”

 

“The oceans must be protected from those who circumvent laws by dumping wastes improperly,” said David G. McLeod, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in Maryland.   “The defendants in this case directed the discharge of oily waste and garbage from their vessel into open water, ordered ship records to be falsified and lied to conceal these crimes. Today’s guilty pleas and sentences should send a strong message that we do not tolerate the flagrant violation of environmental laws and will work closely with our partners to vigorously prosecute those who despoil our environment.

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Wärtsilä Reports Healthy Ship Power Sector in Q1 2014

In its interim financial report January to March 2014 Wärtsilä notes healthy development in ship power and services offsetting challenges in power generation markets.

No Lift for Konecranes as Q1 2014 Profit Slips

Finnish crane maker Konecranes on Thursday reported a 32-percent fall in its core quarterly operating profit amid slow demand and tight competition. January-March 2014 operating profit,

GulfMark Offshore Records Highest Ever Q1 Revenue

Houston-based GulfMark Offshore President & CEO Quintin Kneen commented on his company's first quarter 2014 financial report: "We recorded our highest first quarter revenue ever,

Legal

Mitsui O.S.K. Ship Ready To Leave Chinese Port

Japanese shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd said on Thursday that its ship, the "Baosteel Emotion" 226,434 deadweight-tonne ore carrier, is ready to leave

China Court Releases Japanese Ship After Payment

A Chinese court said on Thursday that it has released a ship owned by Japanese shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd, which had been seized in a contract dispute, after the Japanese firm paid up.

Mitsui Pays $40 Mln Compensation After Seizure

Japanese shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd has paid about 4 billion yen ($39 million) in settlement to China as compensation stemming from a wartime contractual obligation,

Environmental

Huge Iceberg Broken off Antarctica Heads for Open Ocean

Scientists are monitoring an iceberg roughly six times the size of Manhattan - one of the largest now in existence - that broke off from an Antarctic glacier and is heading into the open ocean.

Offshore Oil & Gas: Brazil’s Northern Frontier

In an effort to spread out oil and gas production to other parts of the country and increase overall oil production, Brazil has finally intensified hydrocarbon

RINA Launches Notation for Eco-ships

International classification society RINA has launched a new voluntary notation to clearly identify new ship designs which meet eco-ship criteria. The Efficient

Coast Guard

Limited US Arctic Commercial Development Foreseen: GAO Report

Decreasing seasonal sea ice has opened up Arctic waters for longer periods with resulting potential economic opportunities in commercial shipping, cruises, commercial fishing, oil, and mining.

Canadian Icebreaker Refit Contracts Awarded

The Canadian Government informs it has awarded a $6.5 million contract to Babcock Canada Inc. for critical refit work for Canadian Coast Guard ship 'CCGS Louis S.

Resolve Maritime Academy to Host 'DC Olympics'

Resolve Maritime Academy informs it is to host the Damage Control (DC) Olympics as an annual event for officers and damage control crew of US Navy and US Coast

Government Update

Limited US Arctic Commercial Development Foreseen: GAO Report

Decreasing seasonal sea ice has opened up Arctic waters for longer periods with resulting potential economic opportunities in commercial shipping, cruises, commercial fishing, oil, and mining.

Korean Prosecutors Raid Home of Ferry's Owner

Prosecutors investigating the fatal sinking of a South Korean ferry have raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, the head of a family that owns the Chonghaejin Marine Co.

UK Subsidises 8 Renewable Energy Contracts

The British government on Wednesday awarded investment contracts under a new subsidy regime to eight renewable energy projects, including five offshore wind farms and three biomass plants.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1907 sec (5 req/sec)