Odfjell Pleads Guilty to Pollution Charges

Posted by Michelle Howard
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Odfjell's tanker vessel involved in the incident, M/T Bow Lind (Photo: Odfjell)

Company agrees to pay $1.2 million penalty; $300,000, will fund Long Island Sound projects.

Singapore-based Odfjell Asia II Pte Ltd and one of its senior crew members pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Hartford, Conn., for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), announced Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division Robert G. Dreher, United States Attorney Deirdre M. Daly and Rear Admiral Daniel B. Abel, Commander of the First Coast Guard District in Boston.

“The defendants violated environmental laws that protect our oceans, the world’s fisheries and marine life, from harmful pollution,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Dreher. “Today's conviction ensures they will be held accountable with a stiff criminal fine, contribute to conservation efforts in coastal areas of Long Island, and submit to strict monitoring. We hope this sends a strong message to the shipping industry that committing environmental crimes at sea will not be tolerated.”

“Pollution of our waters will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Daly. “Shipping companies are on notice that violating American environment laws will result in federal prosecution and puts at risk their business interests in this country. Crew members who ignore these laws may also face incarceration. Although these illegal discharges of oily waste occurred in international waters, we are gratified that a quarter of the $1.2 million monetary penalty will fund improvements and protection of the Long Island Sound, a vital economic and recreational resource that contains many unique wildlife habitats.”

“The Coast Guard is committed to working with the maritime industry, and federal, state and local law enforcement partners, to protect the U.S. maritime environment from individuals who pollute our waters,” said Rear Admiral Abel. “When these violations occur, the Coast Guard will work with our partners to ensure that the violators are held accountable under the law.”

According to court documents and statements made in court, Odfjell operated the M/T Bow Lind, a 577-foot, 26,327 gross ton petroleum/chemical tanker ship. On Nov. 6, 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard boarded the vessel in New Haven, Conn., to conduct an inspection. The inspection and subsequent criminal investigation revealed that three times between October 2011 and October 2012, while in international waters, the vessel discharged machinery space bilge water directly into the sea. At the direction of senior engineer Ramil Leuterio, crew members bypassed pollution prevention equipment that was in place to ensure that any discharged bilge water contain less than 15 parts per million of oil. The crew then concealed the illegal discharges by making misleading entries and omissions in the vessel’s oil record book.

According to several engine room crew members, Leuterio directed them to use a complex system to transfer the bilge water from the bilge holding tank to the sewage tank. From the sewage tank, the bilge water was dumped directly into the sea without passing through pollution prevention equipment. Once the bilge holding tank was emptied, Leuterio directed the lower ranking crew members to put clean fresh water and salt water into the tank. As the pollution prevention equipment automatically records the time it is being operated, Leuterio then processed the clean water through the prevention equipment, thereby creating an electronic record to account for the bilge water that had bypassed the equipment and been discharged directly overboard.

Under the terms of a binding plea agreement, if accepted by the court, Odfjell will be placed on probation for a period of three years and pay a criminal penalty totaling $1.2 million, including $300,000 that will be directed to The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to fund projects aimed at the preservation and restoration of the marine environment of Long Island Sound.

As a condition of probation, Odfjell will implement an environmental management plan which will ensure that any ship operated by Odfjell calling on a port of the United States complies with all maritime environmental requirements established under applicable international, flag state, and port state laws. The plan ensures that Odfjell’s employees and the crew of any vessel operated by Odfjell that calls on a United States port are properly trained in preventing maritime pollution. An independent monitor will report to the court regarding Odfjell’s compliance with these obligations during the period of probation.

Leuterio, 42, a citizen of the Philippines, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of violating APPS for his role in directing lower ranking crewmembers to make the illegal discharges and for failing to accurately maintain the vessel’s oil record book. He faces a maximum term of imprisonment of six years and a fine of up to $250,000.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant has scheduled sentencing for May 14, 2014.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, Coast Guard Investigative Service, and Coast Guard office of Investigations and Analysis (CG-INV). The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Stephen Da Ponte in the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. McConnell from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut.

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

People & Company News

Kings Point Student Earns NMRA Scholarship

The National Marine Representatives Association (NMRA) recently awarded its second $500 scholarship to a student pursuing education in the marine industry and maritime trades.

Fourth Rig Delivered to Perforadora Central

Keppel AmFELS LLC, a wholly owned US subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M), has delivered the jackup rig, Coatzacoalcos, to Mexico’s Central Panuco S.

Stena Bulk Joins World Ocean Council

Stena Bulk reports it is the first Swedish shipping company to join the World Ocean Council (WOC), a global organization that converges a diverse range of maritime

Legal

WRRDA: Clearing the Channel for P3 Projects

A Creative Combination for Financing Inland Waterways Infrastructure Earlier this year, the U.S. maritime industry in general, and the inland waterways industry in particular,

EU: Ships Will Measure CO2 Emissions

Shippers to begin monitoring from 2018; Environmental groups say law is weak, shippers favorable. The shipping sector will for the first time have to monitor

Woodside to Pick up Moroccan Acreage

Woodside advises that it has entered into a contract for an exclusive Reconnaissance Licence (RL) with the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines, the

Environmental

MSC Approves SOLAS Amendments

SOLAS amendments to make IGF Code mandatory approved by Maritime Safety Committee   The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC),

WRRDA: Clearing the Channel for P3 Projects

A Creative Combination for Financing Inland Waterways Infrastructure Earlier this year, the U.S. maritime industry in general, and the inland waterways industry in particular,

Stena Bulk Joins World Ocean Council

Stena Bulk reports it is the first Swedish shipping company to join the World Ocean Council (WOC), a global organization that converges a diverse range of maritime

News

MSC Approves SOLAS Amendments

SOLAS amendments to make IGF Code mandatory approved by Maritime Safety Committee   The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee (MSC),

Kings Point Student Earns NMRA Scholarship

The National Marine Representatives Association (NMRA) recently awarded its second $500 scholarship to a student pursuing education in the marine industry and maritime trades.

Fourth Rig Delivered to Perforadora Central

Keppel AmFELS LLC, a wholly owned US subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd (Keppel O&M), has delivered the jackup rig, Coatzacoalcos, to Mexico’s Central Panuco S.

Coast Guard

Bollinger Delivers 11th FRC to the US Coast Guard

Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. has delivered the William Trump, the 11th Fast Response Cutter (FRC) to the United States Coast Guard.   The announcement was made by Bollinger Chief Operating Officer,

The Legal Consequences of 46 CFR Subchapter “M”

As the holiday season and the end of another year quickly approaches, the towing industry patiently waits for the Coast Guard to finalize the long-awaited towing vessel inspection rule.

Migrant Rescue Draws Budget Concerns in the Mediterranean

Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI) has raised concerns about the implications for masters of the recent reports of the launch of the new EU Frontex operation

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.1515 sec (7 req/sec)