Office Of Inspector General News

15 Apr 2020

USCG Polar Security Cutters: The History and Future

Credit: Halter Marine and Technology Associates, Inc.

The good news is that work has commenced on the first new heavy polar icebreaker for the United States Coast Guard in 43 years. The bad news is that when it enters service, projected to occur in FY2024, it will be the first new heavy polar icebreaker for the USCG in 47 years. Meanwhile, Russia has approximately 30 active polar icebreakers, including four that are nuclear powered. Arktika, the first of a new class of three heavy polar icebreakers, has commenced sea trials in the Gulf of Finland, with the other two under construction.

11 Oct 2017

Marine Casualty Investigation

Dennis Bryant

In the realm of marine casualty investigations the allocation of blame should be secondary to marine safety. There are three important criteria for marine casualty investigations to be of value to the maritime industry. First, the report must be completed promptly. It does little good to see for the first time the report on a casualty that occurred three or more years ago. Second, the report must be publicly disseminated. The best report is of little value if it is available only to the principals. Third, the report must focus on the root cause of the casualty.

27 Feb 2017

Company to Pay $9.5 Mln for Actions Leading to US Gulf Explosion

Wood Group PSN Inc., a Nevada corporation headquartered in Houston, was ordered to pay $9.5 million in two separate cases involving its conduct in the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, Wood Group PSN was ordered to pay $7 million for falsely reporting over several years that personnel had performed safety inspections on offshore facilities in the Gulf of Mexico in the Western District of Louisiana, and $1.8 million for negligently discharging oil into the Gulf of Mexico in violation of the Clean Water Act after an explosion on an offshore facility in the Eastern District of Louisiana, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeff Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Stephanie A. Finley, and U.S.

26 Oct 2015

USCG Guidance and Reporting Marine Casualties

Jeanne Grasso

U.S. Coast Guard Guidance Helps to Bring some Clarity to the Debate. In July 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard released Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular 01-15 (“NVIC”), titled Marine Casualty Reporting Procedures Guide with Associated Standard Interpretations. The purpose of the NVIC is to assist vessel owners and operators in understanding the marine casualty reporting requirements, which many in the industry think are about as clear as mud. Confusion as to what constitutes a marine casualty and what incidents need to be reported has persisted in the marine industry for years.

21 Apr 2014

U.S. Coast Guard Doing Less with Less

Dennis L. Bryant

Funds appropriated for use by the US Coast Guard are about to be decreased – again. The service’s funding has decreased in four of the previous five fiscal years, generally by 1% each year. The Administration’s budget request for FY 2016 has just been submitted to Congress. It calls for a 6.2% decrease in Coast Guard funding. For FY 2015, the Coast Guard was appropriated $10,438,120. For the upcoming year, the Administration is requesting only $9,796,995. The budget request identifies various minor cuts.

10 Mar 2014

Two Ocean Shipping Companies to Pay $3.4M

Sea Star Line LLC and Horizon Lines LLC have agreed to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by fixing the price of government cargo transportation contracts between the continental United States and Puerto Rico, the Department of Justice announced today. Under the settlement agreements, Sea Star Line has agreed to pay $1.9 million, and Horizon Lines has agreed to pay $1.5 million. “Today’s civil settlements demonstrate our continuing vigilance to ensure that those doing business with the government do not engage in anticompetitive conduct…

20 Sep 2013

Halliburton Guilty Plea in Deepwater Horizon Case

Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destruction of Evidence in Connection with Deepwater Horizon Disaster and Is Sentenced to Statutory Maximum Fine; Former Halliburton Manager Is Charged. Halliburton Energy Services Inc. (Halliburton) pleaded guilty today to destroying evidence pertaining to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and was sentenced to the statutory maximum fine, the Justice Department announced. In addition, a criminal information was filed today charging a former Halliburton manager, Anthony Badalamenti, 61, of Katy, Texas, with one count of destruction of evidence.

29 Jul 2013

Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destruction of Evidence

Halliburton Energy Services Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Department of Justice announced today. A criminal information charging Halliburton with one count of destruction of evidence was filed today in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Halliburton has signed a cooperation and guilty plea agreement with the government in which Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty and admit its criminal conduct. As part of the plea agreement, Halliburton has further agreed, subject to the court’s approval, to pay the maximum-available statutory fine, to be subject to three years of probation and to continue its cooperation in the government’s ongoing criminal investigation.

21 Nov 2011

U.S. DOJ: Guilty Plea in Price Fixing Case

Florida-Based Sea Star Line LLC Agrees to Plead Guilty and Its Former President Is Indicted for Price Fixing on Coastal Freight Services Between the Continental United States and Puerto Rico Sea Star Line Also Agrees to Pay $14.2 Million Criminal Fine. Sea Star Line LLC has agreed today to plead guilty and to pay a $14.2 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices in the coastal water freight transportation industry, the Department of Justice announced. Additionally…

23 Jun 2011

Report on USCG Offshore Vessel Inspections

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) release the report of its examination of the Coast Guard’s Offshore Vessel Inspection Program. It found that 99% of such inspections were conducted by qualified personnel and did not identify any instances of uninspected offshore vessels. It found, though, that all the guidance needed by inspectors to perform the inspections and record the results had not been developed and implemented. A formal review process for domestic vessel inspection data had not been established. As a result, the Coast Guard cannot determine its current or future resource requirements for this program. OIG-11-86 (6/22/11).   Source: Bryant’s Maritime News

22 Nov 2010

Investigating the USCG’s Administrative Law Judge System

On September 14, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General posted its much anticipated report addressing the very serious allegations of misconduct made against the U.S. Coast Guard’s Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) system by former ALJ Jeffie J. Massey. In short, the Inspector General’s office concluded that it “was not able to substantiate” Judge Massey’s allegations against her former superior, Chief ALJ Joseph N. Ingolia, and numerous members of his staff, members of the ALJ Docketing staff, members of the Coast Guard Commandant’s staff and several USCG Investigating Officers who were involved in cases then pending before Judge Massey.

18 Feb 2010

Guilty Plea for Price-Fixing Conspiracy

An Italian subsidiary of a U.S.-based company has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $2.29m criminal fine for participating in a conspiracy to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market shares of marine hose sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced. A one-count felony charge was filed on Feb. 16 in U.S. District Court in Houston, against Parker ITR S.r.l., a manufacturer of marine hose, headquartered in Veniano, Italy. Under the terms of the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Parker ITR has agreed to pay a criminal fine and to cooperate fully in the Department’s ongoing antitrust investigation. Parker ITR is the fourth company to be charged in the investigation.

12 Feb 2002

OIG Will Conduct Survey of Cargo Container Safety

The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued a notification to the U.S. Coast Guard that the OIG is initiating a survey of cargo container safety and security at U.S. seaports. The objective of the survey is to determine whether the Coast Guard's container inspection program (CIP) adequately ensures the safety and security of hazardous material freight containers shipped through U.S. seaports. Source: HK Law

09 Aug 2004

OMI Ordered to Pay $4.2M

Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Christopher J. Christie, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, announced that a Connecticut-based shipping company that transports petroleum products in the United States and abroad was sentenced to pay $4.2 million for illegally concealing the dumping of thousands of gallons of waste oil and sludge at sea. U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden ordered OMI Corporation, to pay a $4.2 million fine and serve three years of probation. Judge Hayden also awarded $2.1 million of the fine to a former OMI crew member who reported the crimes to the government.

22 Jan 2004

GUILTY: OMI to Pay $4.2M Fine for Illegal Dumping

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that OMI Corporation pleaded guilty to preparing false documents in an effort to cover up the illegal dumping of thousands of gallons of waste oil and sludge at sea. OMI also agreed to pay a $4.2 million fine and serve three years probation. U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden accepted the guilty plea. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 3. A ship captain and chief engineer previously pled guilty in connection with the case. The ship involved in the case, the Motor Tanker Guadalupe, owned and operated by wholly owned subsidiaries of OMI Corporation, made port calls in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.

14 Jan 2004

News: Cruise Ship Engineers Indicted

Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division and Marcos Daniel Jiménez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announced that three senior cruise ship engineers were indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami, Fla., for their role in concealing the overboard dumping of waste oil from the SS Norway cruise ship in false log books designed to deceive the U.S. Coast Guard. The defendants, Chief Engineers Knut Sorboe and Peter Solemdal, Senior First Engineer Aage Lokkebraten are Norwegian nationals who were employed by Norwegian Cruise Line Limited (NCL) at the time of the offenses.

19 Dec 2003

Cruise Ship Engineers Indicted

Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Marcos Daniel Jiménez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, announced that three senior cruise ship engineers were indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami, Florida, for their role in concealing the overboard dumping of waste oil from the SS Norway cruise ship in false log books designed to deceive the United States Coast Guard. The defendants, Chief Engineers Knut Sorboe and Peter Solemdal, Senior First Engineer Aage Lokkebraten are Norwegian nationals who were employed by Norwegian Cruise Line Limited (NCL) at the time of the offenses.

13 Dec 2007

Jail for Execs in Marine Hose Bid-Rigging Conspiracy

An independent consultant and two executives of Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd., a manufacturer of marine hose located in Grimsby, U.K., pleaded guilty and have agreed to serve record-setting prison sentences for participating in a conspiracy to rig bids, fix prices, and allocate market shares of marine hose sold in the U.S. the Department of Justice announced. The plea agreements were filed today in U.S. District Court in Houston. The Antitrust Division filed a one-count felony charge on Dec. 3, 2007, against Peter Whittle, sole proprietor of a consulting business named PW Consulting (Oil & Marine); Bryan Allison, managing director of Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd.; and David Brammar, Dunlop’s sales and marketing director, in U.S. District Court in Houston.

02 Jul 2008

Cargo Container Targeting

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued the report of its review of the Cargo Enforcement Reporting and Tracking System (CERTS) administered by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CERTS is intended to gather data on cargo examination findings and report on how efficiently examination equipment is being used. Analysis of this information can be used to improve CBP’s ability to identify high-risk cargo containers entering the United States and examination methodologies. The review found that CBP has not updated its CERTS project plan. In addition, CBP bypassed key Customs Standard Life Cycle reviews designed to ensure end-users have a properly working system and have received management’s approval to continue the project.

19 Nov 2008

Exec to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging

The former president of a California marine products company has agreed to plead guilty for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids and allocate customers with respect to marine products purchased by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coast Guard and other public and private entities, the Department of Justice announced. Under the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Andrew Barmakian has agreed to serve a sentence and pay a criminal fine to be determined by the court. He has also agreed to cooperate with the Department's ongoing investigation in the marine products industry. He is the fifth executive to agree to plead guilty in the ongoing investigation. According to the one-count felony charge filed today in the U.S.

23 Apr 2009

Trelleborg AB to Pay $11m in Criminal Fines

Two subsidiaries of the Swedish company Trelleborg AB, one based in Virginia and the other in France, have agreed to plead guilty and pay a total of $11m in criminal fines for their participation in separate conspiracies affecting the sales of marine products sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced April 21. A two-count felony charge was filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Va., against Virginia Harbor Services Inc., formerly known as Trelleborg Engineered Products Inc. (VHS/TEPI), a manufacturer of foam-filled marine fenders, buoys and plastic marine pilings headquartered in Clearbrook, Va. According to the charges…

19 Nov 2009

Report on USCG ARRA Expenditures

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued the report of its review of the US Coast Guard’s expenditure plans for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Coast Guard was allocated $240 million for alteration or removal of obstructive bridges and for acquisition, construction, and improvements for its shore facilities and vessels. The OIG found the expenditure plans to be designed to meet most of the ARRA goals, except for the “quick-start” goal of using 50% of the stimulus funds for activities that could be initiated by June 17, 2009. OIG-10-06 (11/18/09). (Source: Bryant’s Maritime News)

09 Dec 2009

DHS Review of USCG Mission Performance

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued its annual review of the Coast Guard’s mission performance for fiscal year 2008. The report shows that for the seventh consecutive year, the Coast Guard dedicated more resource hours to homeland security missions than to non-homeland security missions. But, the data also shows that the gap in resource hours is narrowing. OIG-10-17 (12/8/09). (Source: Bryant’s Maritime News)

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