Two shipping firms fined US$1.8m for illegally dumping oily bilge water in US
NEDERLAND Shipping Co and Chartworld Shipping Co have agreed to pay a US$1
NEDERLAND Shipping Co and Chartworld Shipping Co have agreed to pay a US$1.8 million criminal fine, after pleading guilty in a US federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, to illegally dumping oily bilge water overboard and covering up the hazardous condition of their reefer ship from the US Coast Guard.
The companies will also be subject to a four-year probation that includes a comprehensive environmental compliance plan for Chartworld's ships. The compliance plan will be implemented by an independent auditing company and supervised by a court-appointed monitor, the US Justice Department said.
Incorporated in Liberia, the two shipping companies own and operate the 3,049-tonne Nederland Reefer, a vessel that carries refrigerated cargo containers, reported American Shipper.
Coast Guard officials boarded the Nederland Reefer at Lewes, Delaware, on February 21 to carry out a port state control exam. The agency found that the ship's chief engineer Vasileios Mazarakis had been 'repeatedly tricking' the oily water separator's oil content monitor with fresh water to facilitate the discharge of untreated oily bilge into the sea, the Justice Department said.
To hide the oily bilge discharges from the Coast Guard, Mr Mazarakis falsified the vessel's oil record book, a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. He also allegedly destroyed evidence and tampered with witnesses. He pleaded guilty to the charges on October 2.
The Coast Guard's investigation of the Nederland Reefer also discovered that on December 30 2018, seawater began entering the vessel below the waterline through a hole in the bilge tank. The companies failed to report the ship's hazardous condition to the Coast Guard.