Shipping Firms to Pay $10.4 Million in Pollution Penalties

MarineLink.com
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Two shipping firms based in Germany and Cyprus were sentenced today in federal court in Newark, N.J., to pay a $10.4 million penalty for felony obstruction of justice charges and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships related to the deliberate concealment of vessel pollution from four ships that visited ports in New Jersey, Delaware and Northern California, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in New Jersey and Delaware, the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Coast Guard announced.

Columbia Shipmanagement (Deutschland) GmbH (CSM-D), a German corporation, and Columbia Shipmanagement Ltd. (CSM-CY), a Cypriot company, were sentenced to pay a $10.4 million criminal penalty, $2.6 million of which will be directed to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to fund community service projects selected to help restore the coastal environment of New Jersey and Delaware hit by Hurricane Sandy.  The remaining $7.8 million is designated as a criminal fine.  In addition, the companies were placed on four years of probation.  During probation, the companies will be subject to the terms of an environmental compliance plan that requires outside audits by an independent company and oversight by a court appointed monitor.  The shipping firms admitted that four of their ships - three oil tankers and one container ship - had intentionally bypassed required pollution prevention equipment and falsified the oil record book, a required log regularly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard.  The case is the largest vessel pollution settlement in either New Jersey or Delaware.

The companies previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton on March 21, 2013, to six counts involving three vessels in New Jersey and four counts involving one ship in Delaware.  The counts consist of violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to maintain an accurate oil record book, obstruction of justice and making false statements.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, the investigation into the M/T King Emerald was launched on May 7, 2012, after several crew members provided cell phone photos and other evidence to Coast Guard officers conducting a routine inspection.  The King Emerald was engaged in various types of illegal discharges of bilge waste dating back to at least 2010. The defendants admitted that illegal discharges of both sludge and oily bilge waste were discharged at night off the coast of Central America, including a discharge within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Costa Rica where a national park is located.  The ship’s second engineer pleaded guilty previously and was sentenced in Newark on April 3, 2013.

The Delaware investigation began in October 2012 after several crew members of the M/T Nordic Passat provided the Coast Guard with a thumb drive containing photographs and video showing how illegal discharges had been sent overboard through the ship’s sewage system.  They also alleged that sludge had been put into the ship’s cargo tanks and that logs showing sludge had been incinerated onboard had been falsified.  The charges involving the M/V Cape Maas stem from a whistleblower report to the Coast Guard when the ship visited the port in San Francisco.  The whistleblower provided a video showing the operation of the oily water separator pumping overboard without the use of the oil content monitor to detect and prevent oil from being illegally discharged.

Violations on a fourth ship, the M/T Cape Taft, which was anchored in New York waters and destined for New Jersey, were uncovered just weeks before the March plea, after the ship disclosed problems to CSM-D.  An internal investigation revealed that the ship’s oily water separator had been used improperly for some time.  Instead of sensing a sample of overboard discharges, it was instead flushed with fresh water by the crew.  The ship’s oil record book was revised by CSM-D to reveal 16 instances where it was false.  The defendants cooperated with the investigation and provided the government with video replays of the oil content monitor showing when the crew had “tricked” the sensor with fresh water.

This prosecution was made possible through the combined efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard Districts 1, 5 and 11; Coast Guard Sectors New York, Delaware Bay, and San Francisco; Coast Guard Investigative Service; Coast Guard Office of Maritime and International Law; and Coast Guard Office of Investigation and Analysis.

The United States is represented by Kathleen P. O’Leary, Assistant U.S. Attorney in New Jersey; Richard Udell, Senior Counsel, and Stephen Da Ponte, Trial Attorney, of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division; and Edmond Falgowski, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Delaware.  Assistance was also provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

Maritime Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Greek Coast Guard Seizes Weapons Ship Bound for Libya

Greek authorities have seized a freighter carrying an undeclared shipment of weapons en route from Turkey to Libya, coast guard officials said on Wednesday. A

Cosco CSCL Merger Talks Continue

The closed-door talks on what is believed to be merger discussions between Cosco and China Shipping continue, reports local media.   According to JoC, the Chinese

SHIPPINGInsight to Focus on Ship Telematics

The subject of ship telematics will be prominently featured at the upcoming SHIPPINGInsight 2015 Fleet Optimization Conference & Exhibition, which takes place in Stamford, Conn.

Environmental

Drilling Down into Risk Management

Afloat or ashore, we cannot eliminate risk, but it can be sensibly managed to a tolerable level. It begins with a hypothetical, but worryingly authentic, tale

MN: Corvus Energy

The Company: Corvus is a manufacturer of proven, high power Energy Storage Systems (ESS). Its field proven battery systems provide power to hybrid and fully electric marine propulsion systems.

LNG-fueled Box Ship a 'Momentous Step Forward'

On Saturday, August 29, 2015, the world’s first series of energy efficient containerships welcomed its second LNG-powered vessel in San Diego, fueling the U.S.

Coast Guard

Twelve Syrians Drown Trying to Reach Greece

At least 12 people believed to be Syrian refugees drowned as two boats sank after leaving southwest Turkey for the Greek island of Kos on Wednesday, a senior Turkish naval official said.

Greek Coast Guard Seizes Weapons Ship Bound for Libya

Greek authorities have seized a freighter carrying an undeclared shipment of weapons en route from Turkey to Libya, coast guard officials said on Wednesday. A

Singapore Navy Foils Pirate Attack

The Republic of Singapore Navy ( RSN) disrupted a sea robbery on a tugboat in the eastern approaches of the Singapore Strait, says Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).

Vessels

Rolls-Royce to Design, Equip Canadian Stern Trawler

The shipbuilding company VARD Group AS in Norway has received an order from a Canadian company for a shrimp stern trawler to be designed and equipped by Rolls-Royce,

China Shipping Line to Buy 10 Vessels

China Shipping Container Lines Co is planning to buy around 10 ultralarge container ships for around $1.5 billion, despite the shipping industry struggles with a capacity glut, reports WSJ.

CMA CGM's Profits Jump 67% in Q2

French shipping giant CMA CGM, reported a 66.7% jump in net profit to $156m in the second quarter of 2015. The result compared to a $94m net profit in the same period a year earlier.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar
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: 0.7083 sec (1 req/sec)