US Court gets tough on illegal discharge at sea

By Vessels

A US Federal judge based in Hawaii has fined a South Korean shipping company $950,000 for its tanker’s failure to maintain an accurate oil record book, in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and making false statements to the US Coast Guard about dumping oil contaminated bilge water.

On Tuesday this week, US District of Hawaii Judge Leslie Kobayashi accepted the guilty plea of Doorae Shipping and sentenced the company to pay a fine of $750,000, a community service payment of $200,000, and put the company on two years probation.
Doorae Shipping is the operator of the 2009-built 5,702 dwt chemical/product tanker B. Sky.

US Court gets tough on illegal discharge at sea

Chemical/Oil Products tanker B.SKY - Image: L.J.Axt

According to information provided in court, instead of running bilge water through an oil water separator, the B. Sky’s Chief Engineer discharged over 500 gallons of oily machinery space bilge water into the sea and failed to record the discharge in the oil record book.

The Court approved the payment of the $200,000 community service payment, as a result of an agreement between the Government and Doorae to be donated to the National Fish and Wildlife Service Foundation to fund projects that preserve and enhance coral reefs and reef ecosystems around Hawaii.

The Court also took the guilty plea of the Chief Engineer, Jeung Mun, to one charge of causing the maintenance of a faulty oil record book in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. He was scheduled to be sentenced on 27th July, 2016.

“All maritime companies, including those that provide refuelling services on the open seas, must respect the laws and the obligations of their trade, which exist to prevent the spoiling of oceans and marine habitat,” said Florence Nakakuni, US Attorney for the District of Hawaii. “This office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who violate our nation’s laws enacted to protect our oceans and environment.”

“The oceans and marine wildlife must be protected from shipping companies that look to cut corners by dumping untreated waste,” said Jay Green, special agent in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) criminal enforcement program in Hawaii. “The defendants in this case falsified their log books in an attempt to conceal their crimes, but thanks to the thoroughness of Coast Guard and EPA investigators and the persistence of the US Attorney’s Office, the defendants got caught. Today’s guilty pleas demonstrate that the American people will not tolerate the flagrant violation of US laws.”

The case was investigated by US Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, the US Coast Guard Investigative Service and the EPA.

Source: Tanker Operator