Maritime News

US fines shipping companies $2.7m for pollution cover-up

13 January 2017

A US court has fined two Greek shipping companies USD2.7 million for obstructing justice, violating pollution law, tampering with witnesses and conspiracy. The penalty follows the recent jailing of two senior engineers for 12 and nine months for their role in the pollution cover-up, which was discovered by the US coastguard when it inspected the Liberia-flagged cargo ship Ocean Hope in Wilmington, North Carolina.

The vessel had deliberately discharged oily waste into the sea, bypassing pollution prevention equipment through use of a “magic pipe”, and the two engineers had falsified the oil record book and instructed junior crew members to make false reports to coastguard inspectors.

Oceanfleet Shipping Ltd, the vessel’s operator, was fined USD1,350,000 and ordered to make a USD450,000 community service payment to Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. The owner, Oceanic Illsabe Ltd, was fined USD675,000 plus the USD225,000 community service payment. Each company was barred from sending ships to US ports until its financial penalty has been satisfied.

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