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Monday, May 20, 2024

U.S. Department of Justice fines shipping company $1 million for environmental crimes

The DOJ has fined a Japanese shipping company $1 million for environmental crimes (Port City Daily photo/ Ben Schachtman)
The DOJ has fined a Japanese shipping company $1 million for environmental crimes (Port City Daily photo/Ben Schachtman)

WILMINGTON—The United States Department of Justice has fined the Nitta Kisen Kaisha Ltd. shipping company $1 million for environmental pollution crimes that took place after it delivered steel to the Port of Wilmington.

According to a Department of Justice press release, the Nitta company, “Was convicted and sentenced today for obstruction of justice and falsification of an Oil Record Book to cover-up intentional oil pollution from the Motor Vessel Atlantic Oasis.”

This is not the first time M/V Atlantic Oasis or its crew have been in trouble for falsification of the oil record book, according to the release.

“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 tank and from the vessel’s bilges,” the release states. “During a U.S. Coast Guard inspection of the vessel on May 17, 2017, a junior engineering crew member provided information to the inspectors about how the oily wastes were being discharged by the order of Chief Engineer Youn. The crewmember also showed U.S. Coast Guard inspectors where the hoses that were used for the discharges were hidden.

“Chief Engineer Youn lied to the inspectors about the existence of a Sounding Log, which is typically used in the industry to record the fluid levels of various tanks in the engine room,” the release states. “By the end of the inspection, Chief Engineer Youn had admitted to ordering the illegal discharges and admitted that there was a Sounding Log.”

The owner of the ship was ordered to pay $1 million, placed on probation for three years, and ordered to implement an environmental compliance plan.

“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 heart of this case is the illegal discharge itself and the damage that action did to our environment – particularly the spectacular seashores and waterways that are so critical to the Eastern District of North Carolina,” United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr said in the release. “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 dumping-ground.”

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