WHISTLEBLOWER HELPS CATCH ANOTHER INTENTIONAL OIL POLLUTER!
On May 10, 2018, The U.S. Department of Justice announced the conviction and sentencing of the Japanese shipping company Nitta Kisen Kaisha LTD.
The company pled guilty to obstruction of justice and falsification of an oil record book to cover up intentional oil pollution from one of its vessels, The ATLANTIC OASIS, which was delivering steel products to Wilmington, North Carolina.
The company admitted that its engineers failed to document the illegal discharge of oily wastes from the vessel’s fuel and lubrication oil purifier systems, as well as discharges of oily bilge waste from the bilge holding take and from the vessel’s bilges.
During a U.S. Coast Guard inspection of the vessel on May 17th, 2017, a junior engineer provided information to the inspectors about how the oily wastes were being discharged by the order of the chief engineer. The whistleblower also showed U.S. Coast Guard inspectors where the hoses (often called magic pipes) that were used for the discharges were hidden.
The company was fined $1 million and placed on probation for three years. It also had to implement a court-approved environmental compliance plan.
The ship’s chief engineer, who told authorizes there was no sounding log for the engine room storage thanks, was also placed on probation for one year and ordered to pay a fine of $5,500.
“While the charges in this case rest on the failure of the ship’s crew to properly document the discharge of oily bilge waste, the heard of this case is the illegal discharge itself and the damage that action did to our environment – particularly our spectacular seashores and waterways,” said United States attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. for the eastern district of North Carolina.
“We trust that the fines and penalties imposed in this case will act as a deterrent to anyone who would treat our environment as a dump-ground.”
For more information read the press release from the Department of Justice.