Friday, January 15, 2016

Magic Pipe Crime Sees Bulk Freight Carrier Managers and Crew Face Million Dollar Fines

Discharge of Waste Water by Stealth Costs Turkish Firm Dear
Shipping News Feature
US – Turkish ship management company, Ciner, which manages a fleet of around 18 bulk carriers and tankers, plus two of the company’s senior crew members, have pleaded guilty in federal court in Baltimore, Maryland, for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) on charges related to the illegal discharge of waste oil and falsifying evidence, yet another ‘magic pipe’ incident. In accordance with the terms of the plea agreement, Ciner was sentenced to pay a criminal penalty of $1.05 million, of which $150,000 will be in the form of an organisational community service payment to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and used to fund projects aimed at the restoration of marine and aquatic resources in the District of Maryland.

Ciner operated the Artvin, a 44,635 tonne bulk carrier, and according to the plea agreement, from at least March 2014 to November 2014, oily waste water was routinely discharged from the vessel into the sea without the use of required pollution prevention equipment. During that time, the crew intentionally covered up the illegal discharges of oil waste by falsifying the vessel’s oil record book.

In previous proceedings, the Chief Engineer of the vessel, Philippine national John Malaki, pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an accurate oil record book. For his role, Malaki was sentenced to six months supervised probation and a $50,000 fine. The vessel’s Second Engineer, Ulyses Atabay, also of the Philippines, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting Malaki’s failure to maintain an accurate oil record book and received a sentence of one year of unsupervised probation.

According to their plea agreements, Atabay directed members of the crew to discharge oily water from the waste oil tank into the sea without first using the vessel’s oil water separator, as required by law. Malaki did not stop the discharges and did not record them in the vessel’s oil record book, as he was required to do.

The court accepted the terms of the company’s plea agreement, and sentenced Ciner to pay an overall criminal penalty of $1.05 million, with the company also being required to implement an environmental compliance plan, which will ensure that any ship operated by Ciner complies with all maritime environmental requirements established under applicable international, flag state and port state laws. The plan ensures that the firm's employees and the crew are properly trained in preventing maritime pollution. An independent monitor will report to the court about Ciner’s compliance with its obligations during the period of probation.