Tanker’s oily discharge results in $2 million fine after crew member hands over video

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Navimax Corporation, incorporated in the Marshall Islands with its main offices in Greece, was sentenced to a $2 million fine by United States District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika for a violation of the Act To Prevent Pollution From Ships (“APPS”), and obstruction of a Coast Guard investigation.

The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships is a codification of international treaties known as the “MARPOL Protocol.” APPS applies to the handling and disposal of oily waste generated by ship machinery as well as oil cargo residue that results from cleaning oil cargo tanks.

To ensure that oily waste is properly stored and processed at sea, all ocean-going ships entering U.S. ports must maintain an Oil Record Book lisitng transfers and discharges of oily waste, regardless of the ship’s location in international waters.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Navimax operated the Nave Cielo, a 750-foot long oil tanker.

In early December 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard boarded the vessel near Delaware City and was conducting a routine inspection when a crewmember gave the officers a thumb drive containing two videos, depicting a high-volume discharge of dark brown and black oil waste from a five-inch pipe, located 15-feet above water level. (See video above).

The investigation disclosed that the approximate 10-minute discharge occurred on November 2, 2017, in international waters, after the ship left New Orleans en route to Belgium. The day after the discharge, crewmembers cleaned oil from the decks and a crewman was lowered over the side of the vessel to clean oil from the hull. During the Coast Guard inspection on December 7, 2017, the ship’s crew presented the ship’s Oil Record Book, which did not record this discharge.

“The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships helps protect the precious ocean and marine resources of the United States from harmful pollution, and those who knowingly violate this law will be held accountable,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with the Coast Guard and our other law enforcement partners to ensure that individuals and corporations alike comply with the nation’s environmental laws.”

“I am exceptionally pleased with the outcome of this case,” said Captain Scott Anderson, Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay. “Personnel at Sector Delaware Bay, Marine Safety Detachment Lewes, DE, the Coast Guard Investigative Service Philadelphia Office, and legal staffs dedicated countless hours conducting an extensive and detailed investigation and processing the case. Outcomes like this help protect the environment by holding operators accountable for their actions.”

Navimax was ordered to pay the fineimmediately, and placed the company on probation for four years.

Also sentenced today for a violation of the treaty-law was Roman Maksymov, the vessel’s former Chief Officer. Maksymov was responsible for the proper handling of oily waste from the ship’s cargo holds and for recording any discharge of oil in the Oil Record Book.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and the Coast Guard Investigative Service.

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