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

People & Company News

Deadliest Weekend Ever in the Mediterranean: UNHCR

More than 700 people fleeing Africa and the Middle East may have drowned in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean over the last week, bringing the death toll this year to almost 3,

BAE Systems Awarded 'USS Hopper' Repair Contract

US Department of Defense informs BAE Systems Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $22,905,907 undefinitized contract action to a previously

Trelleborg Report Optimistic for Port Investment

The latest 'Barometer Report' from Trelleborg's marine operations business sector, discusses the issues impacting ports and terminals around the globe, and reveals

Legal

Deadliest Weekend Ever in the Mediterranean: UNHCR

More than 700 people fleeing Africa and the Middle East may have drowned in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean over the last week, bringing the death toll this year to almost 3,

Seaspan Agreement with GCII & Blue Water

Seaspan Corporation announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Greater China Intermodal Investments LLC and Blue Water Commerce, LLC to extend

Deal to End Lockout at Canada Uranium Mine

Canadian uranium producer Cameco Corp and the United Steelworkers union, which represents 535 workers at the world's largest uranium mine and a nearby mill,

Tanker Trends

Upcoming Winter Tanker Market Same as Last Year?

Will the 2014/15 winter tanker market be a repeat of the previous one? Poten & Partners consider the question in their latest 'Poten Tanker Opinion'. As the

Mideast Crude Tanker Rates Near 3-month Low

Crude oil tanker earnings on the major Middle East route fell to their lowest in nearly three months as a slowdown in business in recent days battered rate sentiment.

China Orders More MAN Dual-Fuel Units

51/60DF engines to power LNGCs MAN Diesel & Turbo has announced a further order for its MAN 51/60DF engine. After a longer period of evaluation, an international consortium,

Environmental

Caterpillar Named to Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

Caterpillar Inc. has been named to the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), recognizing Caterpillar as a sustainability leader in the Industrial Engineering sector.

Haze and Reduced Visibility at Singapore Ports

Due to the presence of haze, the Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore Port Marine in their Notice No.113 of 2014 dated 15 September 2014 have informed the

Leaky Equipment, Not Fracking, Behind Tainted US Water -Study

The contamination of water supplies near U.S. shale gas fields appears to be the result of leaky cement wells and casings and not the controversial production technique of hydraulic fracturing,

News

Technip Further Optimizes its Subsea Assets

Technip signed today an agreement to sell 100% of its North American diving assets to Ranger Offshore Inc.(1). Technip’s strategy focuses on high technology

Fourth National Security Cutter Delivered to USCG

The Coast Guard accepted delivery of the fourth National Security Cutter, Hamilton, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Monday. Hamilton will be the first of two NSCs to be homeported in Charleston,

Port of Long Beach Sees Cargo Numbers Slip

Container cargo shipments declined by 9.1 percent in August at the Port of Long Beach, reflecting both early shipping by importers this year and the comparison

Coast Guard

Fourth National Security Cutter Delivered to USCG

The Coast Guard accepted delivery of the fourth National Security Cutter, Hamilton, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Monday. Hamilton will be the first of two NSCs to be homeported in Charleston,

Off-duty Coast Guardsman Saves Six from the Sea

Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Command Center was notified at approximately 5:20 p.m., via VHF Channel 16, that a 38-foot pleasure craft was tipped over with

Ingalls Delivers NSC Hamilton to USCG

Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division delivered the National Security Cutter Hamilton (WMSL 753) to the U.S. Coast Guard today. The

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Sonar
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: 0.2114 sec (5 req/sec)