United States – Penalty for Dumping Oil

12 August 2015 No. 754
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Members are referred to the previous Japan P&I News No.735 dated 9 June 2015.


The Association has received from Mr. Charles L. Whited, Jr. of the New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, law firm, Murphy, Rogers, Sloss & Gambel, the attached 3 news on the intentional discharge of oily water into the ocean. We provide simple summaries below. For the details of this incident, please see the attached news posted on the website of the US Department of Justice.


= Case 1 =

Norwegian Shipping Company and Engineering Officers Charged with Environmental Crimes and Obstruction of Justice


A federal grand jury has returned a seven-count indictment charging Norwegian shipping company and four their engineering officers with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.


According to the indictment, the shipping company and their crews conspired to bypass pollution prevention equipment aboard the vessel and to conceal the direct discharge of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water from the vessel into the sea. And also, the indictment further alleges that prior to an inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard, Engineer officers ordered crew members to remove the bypass pipe, install a new pipe and repaint the piping to hide the illegal discharges. 


If convicted, the shipping company could be fined up to $500,000 per count, in addition to other possible penalties. Four engineering officers face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the obstruction of justice charges. 


= Case 2 =

German Shipping Company Sentenced To Pay US$750,000 For Dumping Oil

A German shipping company was sentenced in federal court to pay a total of $750,000 in fines and community service payments for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by intentionally discharging 1,780 gallons of oily water into the sea off the coast of Alaska and then presenting false records to the U.S. Coast Guard.


The shipping company was also ordered to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan and was placed on probation for three years. During the term of probation, they will be subject to a heightened level of scrutiny, including warrantless searches of its vessels and places of business based upon a reasonable suspicion that it is violating the law.  Of the total payment, they will pay $600,000 in criminal fines and $150,000 in community restitution. The community restitution payment will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be used for research, projects, and education designed to study and/or benefit the marine environment within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States off the coast of Alaska and/or the natural resources or wildlife contained therein near Alaska.


= Case 3 =

UK Shipping Company Fined US$750,000 for Environmental Crimes


Shipping company based in United Kingdom 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. The 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.


On 2014, crew members on board dumped overboard several barrels containing hydraulic oil, at the direction of the vessel’s Chief Mate. The dumping occurred in international waters off the coast of Florida while the vessel was in transit from Costa Rica to New Jersey. The dumping was not recorded in either the ship’s oil record book or garbage record book as required.  In an effort to conceal the dumping, crew members presented a U.S. Coast Guard boarding team with a false oil record book and garbage record book when the vessel arrived in Gloucester, New Jersey. 


On 2015, the above C/M was sentenced to a term of three months prison for failing to maintain an accurate oil record book in violation of the APPS.


In the US, huge penalties can be imposed for violating the relevant regulations by intentionally discharging oil.  Members must comply with the regulations in order to ensure that they do not have such penalties imposed on them. Please note that this kind of penalty is excluded from the Club cover in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Club Rules.