Interorient fined US$2 million for dumping oily wastewater into US waters
INTERORIENT Marine Services has been fined US$2 million and must serve a four-year probation term after being found guilty of maintaining false and the incomplete records in connection with the discharge of oil from the 2009-built 50,250 dwt MR Ridgebury Alexandra Z tanker into the Gulf of Mexico
INTERORIENT Marine Services has been fined US$2 million and must serve a four-year probation term after being found guilty of maintaining false and the incomplete records in connection with the discharge of oil from the 2009-built 50,250 dwt MR Ridgebury Alexandra Z tanker into the Gulf of Mexico.
Under the terms of the plea agreement with in the US western district of Louisiana, all the company's vessels calling at US ports will be required to implement a robust environmental compliance plan for a total period of four years.
Interorient Marine Services admitted that oil cargo residues and oily bilge water were illegally dumped from the MR directly into the sea without being properly processed through required pollution prevention equipment. The company also admitted that false entries were made in the vessel's oil record book to conceal the illegal dumping, London's Tanker Operator reported.
The senior ships officers employed by Interorient were also found guilty of discharging oily waste into the ocean by flushing the vessel's pollution prevention equipment sensor with fresh water.
This move tricked the system into detecting a much lower effluent oil content than what was actually being discharged. The officers then falsified the vessel's oil record book, recording that 87,705 gallons of oily wastewater had been discharged properly through the pollution prevention equipment despite knowing the equipment had been tampered with.
'By illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean, Interorient intentionally violated federal law that protects valuable marine resources and wildlife,' said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark.
The vessel's master, Vjaceslavs Birzakovs, was charged in a six-count indictment by a grand jury in the western district of Louisiana on November 29 for his involvement in this case.
The indictment alleged that Capt Birzakovs directed circumvention of the vessel's pollution prevention equipment, falsified records, obstructed justice, made false statements, and conspired with other crew members to falsify the vessel's oil record book and to obstruct the US Coast Guard's enforcement of the law in conjunction with the illegal discharges from the tanker.