Shipping Company Is Sentenced For Illegally Discharging Oily Waste At Sea
WILMINGTON, Del. – Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Pacific and Atlantic (Shipmanagers), Inc. (“Pacific and Atlantic”), incorporated in the Marshall Islands with its main offices in Athens, Greece, was sentenced today to a $500,000 fine by United States District Court Judge Gregory M. Sleet for violating the Act To Prevent Pollution From Ships.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Pacific and Atlantic operated the M/V Bulk Victory, a 13,697 gross ton ocean-going cargo ship. On March 7, 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard boarded the vessel in the Delaware Bay Big Stone Anchorage to conduct an inspection. The inspection and subsequent criminal investigation revealed that from January through September 2013, the M/V Bulk Victory discharged overboard, in the open ocean, no less than 34 metric tons of oily bilge water and waste sludge.
The Act To Prevent Pollution From Ships is a codification of international treaties known as the “MARPOL Protocol.” To insure that oily waste is properly stored and processed at sea, all ocean going ships entering U.S. ports must maintain an Oil Record Book in which all transfers and discharges of oily waste, regardless of the ship’s location in international waters, are fully recorded. During the Coast Guard boarding on March 7, 2014, crewmen presented the ship’s Oil Record Book, which did not record the relevant overboard discharges.
Pacific and Atlantic was ordered to pay the $500,000 fine immediately, and also placed on probation for three years, during which time the M/V Bulk Victory will be banned from calling on ports of the United States.
“The defendant violated environmental laws that protect our marine environment from harmful pollution,” said U.S. Attorney Oberly. “This conviction ensures that the defendant is held accountable with a criminal fine, as well as a three-year ban from United States ports. The message to the shipping industry is clear: environmental crimes at sea will not be tolerated.”
“I’m so proud of the work of the Coast Guard personnel, particularly those from MSD Lewes, Sector Delaware Bay, and the Coast Guard Investigative Service, who all put in long hours on this case. I’m grateful too, for the support of our District and Headquarters and that of DOJ and others that brought this matter to resolution so quickly,” said Captain Kathy Moore, Commander, Sector Delaware Bay.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Lewes and the Coast Guard Investigative Service. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Stephen Da Ponte in the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmond Falgowski from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware.