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 2013 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Henderson, Hanes & Associates Opens Doors in Miami

Ocean Engineering/ Naval Architecture Firm Brings Innovation to the Mega Yacht Community The Miami-based ocean engineering and naval architecture firm of Henderson & Associates, Inc.

DOF Installer Sells Offshore Vessel

DOF Subsea AS subsidiary, DOF Installer ASA, reported the sale of one of its three sister ships, an anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessel, to an international buyer.

Scanjet Secures 30-ship Tank Management Order

Scanjet Group has followed up its Tank Management order from Stolt-Nielsen with a series of contracts for its ITAMA Intelligent Tank Management concept including Tankcleaning,

Legal

Port Firm Fined £650,000 for Health, Safety Breach

A port operator has today (Monday 29 September) pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches, following the deaths of three crew members of a tug which capsized on the River Clyde in 2007.

IMO Takes Step Towards Electronic Certificates

In the future, the IMO member States should accept the use of electronic certificates. This is the request of the Facilitation Committee (FAL) and, hence, the road is paved for less paperwork,

K-Line to Plead Guilty to Price Fixing

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (K-Line), a Japanese corporation, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $67.7 million criminal fine for its involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices,

Tanker Trends

Scanjet Secures 30-ship Tank Management Order

Scanjet Group has followed up its Tank Management order from Stolt-Nielsen with a series of contracts for its ITAMA Intelligent Tank Management concept including Tankcleaning,

Odfjell Finalizes LPG/Ethylene Joint Venture Deal

Following Odfjell SE’s May 16, 2014 announcement declaring the signing of a definitive agreement to form a LPG/E shipping joint venture, Odfjell today announced

Scanjet Bags Multiple Tank Management Orders

SCANJET Group has followed up its breakthrough Tank Management order from Stolt-Nielsen with a series of contracts for its ITAMA Intelligent Tank Management concept including Tankcleaning,

Environmental

NAVTOR, AWT Agreement Marks Next Step in E-navigation

NAVTOR has signed an agreement with maritime weather routing specialist Applied Weather Technology (AWT) that will see the two companies integrating their services

Emissions Scrubber Receives Class Approval

Langh Ship received final class approval from Germanischer Lloyd for its exhaust gas cleaning system on m/s Laura (pictured), a 1996-built a 6,500 DWT general cargo

‘Green’ Hybrid-powered Research Vessel Christened

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk christened a larger, “greener” new research vessel on Friday, September 26 in preparation for launching a new era in examining,

News

Livorsi Launches New Throttle Lineup

Livorsi Marine introduced the all new Platinum Series throttles, which they say are designed to be more ergonomically comfortable to the operator while being lighter

Henderson, Hanes & Associates Opens Doors in Miami

Ocean Engineering/ Naval Architecture Firm Brings Innovation to the Mega Yacht Community The Miami-based ocean engineering and naval architecture firm of Henderson & Associates, Inc.

Austal Launches Trenton (JHSV 5)

Second Joint High Speed Vessel to be launched at Austal in 2014 On September 30, 2014, Austal USA successfully completed the launch process of Trenton (JHSV

Coast Guard

USCG Cutter Rush Returns

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Rush returned to its homeport following a successful 72-day deployment in the Central and Western Pacific, Monday. Rush departed

Coast Guard Investigating Fatal Boating Collision

The Coast Guard is investigating a fatal collision between a towboat and a pleasure craft near Cincinnati, Thursday evening. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector

Coast Guard: Investigations Underway in Cutter Collision

The Coast Guard is conducting a series of formal investigations after Tuesday’s collision involving a Coast Guard cutter and a fishing vessel off the coast of Puerto Rico.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Sonar 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: 0.2319 sec (4 req/sec)