Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ocean Livestock Freight Shipping Group Fined Half a Million Dollars and Banned from US

Yet Another Operator Discharging Pollutants and Falsifying Oily Water Records
Shipping News Feature

US – Another successful prosecution of an ocean freight carrier after Jordan-based Arab Ship Management pleaded guilty in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, to one count of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. In accordance with the terms of the plea agreement, Arab Ship Management was sentenced to pay a criminal penalty totalling $500,000 and was also placed on probation for two years, during which time ships operated by the company will be banned from calling on ports of the United States. US Attorney for the District of Delaware Charles Oberly III, said:

“The defendant violated environmental laws that protect our marine environment from harmful pollution. This conviction ensures that the defendant is held accountable with a criminal fine and a contribution to conservation efforts in coastal Delaware, as well as a two-year ban from United States ports. The message to the shipping industry is clear: environmental crimes at sea will not be tolerated.”

According to court documents and statements made in court, on March 28, 2013, the US Coast Guard boarded a 3240 dwt livestock carrier, the Panama flagged M/V Neameh, to conduct an inspection whilst she was moored in the Delaware Bay Big Stone Anchorage. The examination and subsequent criminal investigation revealed heavy oil sludge inside the piping on the discharge side of the pollution prevention equipment leading directly overboard, where no oil sludge should be if the pollution prevention equipment is operated properly. Inspectors also discovered that the vessel’s piping arrangement had been modified in a prohibited manner so as to allow oil sludge to be pumped directly overboard. This prohibited piping arrangement was removed prior to the vessel’s arrival in Delaware.

Also during the inspection, Coast Guard officers were presented with two oil record books which are required by law to be accurately maintained on board the vessel. These two oil record books contained different and contradictory entries for the time period of November 30, 2011, through January 2, 2012, as well as fake oily waste disposal receipts. This case is sadly familiar with similarities to recent stories, some published just this month. Speaking of the latest incident Captain Kathy Moore, US Coast Guard Commander of Sector Delaware Bay, said:

“This case demonstrates one way the Coast Guard acts to protect the environment. Marine Inspectors detected serious problems with the ship’s operations. They dove into the details and worked with the Department of Justice and the Coast Guard Investigative Service to bring this case to an appropriate resolution.”