Another marine oil polluter caught and punished!
Hai Soon Ship Management, a shipping company based in Singapore, was sentenced to pay a $1 million fine for failing to maintain an accurate oil record book. The company also pled guilty of making false statements regarding illegal dumping of oily bilge water into waters around the Hawaiian islands.
The ship caught polluting was called the Hai Soon 39, a 3,878-ton oil tanker, which provided refueling services to vessels at sea. The chief engineer, along with other members of the engine room, were found to have constructed a hose (often called a "magic pipe" in the industry) that bypassed the ship’s oily water separator -- and allowed the crew to dump untreated oily bilge water directly into the water. The chief engineer also falsified the ship’s oil record book to hide the illegal discharge. The failure to maintain an accurate oil record book is a crime under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS).
The Coast Guard investigated the Hai Soon 39, and assistant U.S. attorneys Ken Sorenson and Amalia Fenton prosecuted the case. The $1 million fine, along with a two year probation and a new environmental compliance plan for the company's entire fleet of ships that come to the US, was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Helen Gillmor on July 12th, 2018.
“The marine environment that surrounds the Hawaiian islands is unique, and part of the islands’ natural beauty," says US Attorney Kenji M. Price in a US DOJ press release about the case. "This Office will continue to work with the U.S. Coast Guard and use every tool at its disposal to bring to justice those who violate the law by polluting the sea.”
The case against Hai Soon Ship Management is a vivid reminder that intentional marine oil pollution is not yet a thing of the past. Now more than ever we need brave mariners willing to take a stand and report environmental crimes at sea.
Read more about the case at the Honolulu Star Advertiser and the US DOJ"s press release about the case.