Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd, a company operator of the Murcia Carrier, pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an accurate oil record book in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and providing false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard concerning the vessel’s garbage record book.
On June 17, the Glasgow-based company was sentenced to pay a criminal penalty of $750,000 and placed on three years of probation by the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.
Last year, on April 27 crew members on board the Murcia Carrier dumped overboard several barrels containing hydraulic oil in international waters off the coast of Florida. The vessel was en route from Costa Rica to New Jersey, when according to the government, the ship’s crew dumped nearly 20 barrels overboard.
The dumping was not recorded in either the ship’s oil record book or garbage record book as required.
When the vessel arrived in Gloucester (New Jersey), crewmembers presented false oil and garbage record books to the US Coast Guard boarding team in an effort to conceal the dumping.
Captain Benjamin Cooper, the Sector Commander at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay said:
“Marine environmental protection is one of the Coast Guard's primary missions. The Coast Guard takes marine pollution seriously and works cohesively with our partner agencies to hold those, who violate international law accountable for their actions. We anticipate the results of this case will deter future brazen illegal oil discharges into the sea.”
Paul J. Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey stated as well:
“Illegal discharges at sea damage our environment and endanger those, who work in and enjoy our coastal waters. As we have shown before, shipping companies that engage in these criminal practices and deliberately discharge oil – and then lie about it to the Coast Guard – will be prosecuted.”