Maritime News

US fines two firms $1.9m for pollution cover-up

23 June 2017

A court in Texas, USA has fined two shipping companies based in Egypt and Singapore USD1.9 million after they admitted covering up the illegal dumping of oil-contaminated bilge water and rubbish from one of their ships.

The pollution and cover-up came to light following a tip-off with evidence from a crew member of the Liberia-flagged Etc Mena while the tanker was in Port Arthur, Texas in April 2016. The US coastguard inspected the ship and found evidence of a so-called “magic pipe” used to bypass pollution prevention equipment to dump waste oil straight into the sea. The inspection also found that crew members were instructed to throw plastic rubbish bags filled with metal and incinerator ash into the sea, and that this and the use of the magic pipe had not been entered in the ship’s record books.

The owners and operators, Egyptian Tanker Company and Thome Ship Management, pleaded guilty to the ship’s use of the magic pipe and to the obstruction of justice for presenting false documents. The companies have been given a four-year probation, and their penalty requires marine and coastal restoration efforts at three wildlife refuges on the Gulf of Mexico, through which the tanker transited.

 




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