A federal jury in Mobile, Alabama, has convicted Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab AS (DSD Shipping) and three employees with obstructing justice, violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), witness tampering and conspiracy, announced Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney Kenyen R. Brown of the Southern District of Alabama.
Image: adolfo /shipspotting
DSD Shipping is a Norwegian-based shipping company that operates crude oil tankers, including the M/T Stavanger Blossom. Also convicted at trial were three senior engineering officers, Bo Gao, Xiaobing Chen and Xin Zhong, employed by DSD Shipping to work aboard the vessel. A fourth employee, Daniel Paul Dancu, pleaded guilty in October.
The operation of marine vessels, like the M/T Stavanger Blossom, generates large quantities of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water. International and U.S. law requires that these vessels use pollution prevention equipment, known as an oily-water separator, to preclude the discharge of these materials.
Should any overboard discharges occur, they must be documented in an oil record book, a log that is regularly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard.
“We will not tolerate the continued use of the world’s oceans as a dumping ground for contaminated waste,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “These defendants deliberately and egregiously violated the law and fouled the marine environment by dumping waste, then tried to cover it up with false records. We hope this conviction sends a strong message to shippers worldwide that this activity must end, and we will vigorously prosecute those who continue this criminal behavior.”
“I am pleased with the record of this office in pursuing environmental crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Brown. “We will continue to prosecute corporations and individuals to protect our resources here along the Gulf Coast as well as around the World. We need to ensure that all foreign vessels and corporations comply with U.S. Coast Guard Examinations to ensure these resources are protected.”
“The oceans cannot be used as dumping grounds,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Andy Castro of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) criminal enforcement program in Alabama. “The defendants in this case falsified entries in their vessel’s log books to hide the true nature of its open water discharges. Today’s guilty verdict by a jury should serve as a warning to would-be violators that the American people will not allow the flagrant violation of U.S. laws.”