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

People & Company News

Madsen to Chair Norway’s Research Council Executive Board

Henrik O. Madsen appointed chairman of the executive board of the Research Council of Norway   DNV GL president and CEO Henrik O. Madsen was appointed as chairman

Port of Houston Expecting Record Year

The Port of Houston Authority is expecting 2014 to close as a banner year for the port, with 34 million tons of cargo handled through November, Executive Director

Hapag-Lloyd Completes CSAV Merger Capital Increase

Hapag-Lloyd completed the planned capital increase of EUR 370 million (approximately $452.5 million) as part of the business combination with the Chilean shipping

Tanker Trends

Shipbuilding: NAT Finalizes Deal for Two New Tankers

On December 9, 2014, Nordic American Tankers Ltd. announced that preliminary contracts had been entered into with a South Korean shipyard, for the construction

Oil is on the Rise

Oil prices rose in early trading on Monday as Asian markets opened strongly into a holiday-shortened week and as consensus spread that Brent crude prices would

Larger Tankers May Offer Better Return Chances

Investors looking for returns in the tanker markets can invest their capital in a variety of ways. Should an owner invest in a VLCC or an Aframax? How about an

Environmental

NZ Report: Human Error to Blame for Rena Grounding

New Zealand's Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) published its final report into the grounding of containership Rena in October 2011. The TAIC’s

Costa Rica Approves APM Terminals Project

Port operator APM Terminals, a unit of Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk, said on Friday Costa Rica's environment agency had approved the construction of its Moin Container Terminal project.

NOAA: US to See More Floods from Sea Level Rise

Most of U.S. coast may see 30 or more days a year of floods up to 2 feet above high tides. By 2050, a majority of U.S. coastal areas are likely to be threatened

News

Port Workers in Argentine Grain Hub End Strike

Port workers in part of the Argentine grains hub of Rosario lifted a work stoppage on Friday, only a day after they went on strike over demands for higher year-end bonuses, a union official said.

Madsen to Chair Norway’s Research Council Executive Board

Henrik O. Madsen appointed chairman of the executive board of the Research Council of Norway   DNV GL president and CEO Henrik O. Madsen was appointed as chairman

Larger Tankers May Offer Better Return Chances

Investors looking for returns in the tanker markets can invest their capital in a variety of ways. Should an owner invest in a VLCC or an Aframax? How about an

Coast Guard

USCG on Cuba Policy Changes

The U.S. Coast Guard missions and operations in the Southeast remain unchanged. The Coast Guard strongly discourages attempts to illegally enter the country by taking to the sea.

USCG Says Unaffected by Cuba Policy Changes

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) issued a statement today stating that the United States’ Cuba policy change will not impact its missions annd operations. “Coast Guard

Italian Shipbuilder Pleads Guilty to Environmental Crimes

An Italian shipping firm based in Genoa, Italy, pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by falsifying required ships’ documents to hide

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Winch
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: 0.4748 sec (2 req/sec)