Thursday, December 13, 2018

Slovenly Habit of Dumping Waste Oil from Vessels Attracts Huge Penalties Wherever Offence Occurs

Two Million Dollar Fine for Tanker Group in Yet Another Magic Pipe Incident
Shipping News Feature
US – The US Department of Justice  has sentenced the Navimax Corporation, incorporated in the Marshall Islands with its main offices in Greece, to a $2,000,000 fine by a federal district court for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and obstructing a Coast Guard investigation. This is yet another incident of vessels using a so called 'magic pipe' to illegally discharge oil residues into the ocean to the detriment of the environment.

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

According to court documents and statements made in court, Navimax, a subsidiary of Navios Maritime Holdings, operated the Nave Cielo, a 750-foot long oil tanker. Prior to a formal inspection on December 7, 2017, the US Coast Guard boarded the vessel near Delaware City when a crewmember gave the officers a thumb drive containing two separate videos (1 & 2), depicting a high-volume discharge of dark brown and black oil waste from a five-inch pipe, located 15-feet above water level.

Subsequent investigation during a more comprehensive inspection on December 7, 2017, disclosed that the approximately 10-minute discharge occurred on November 2, 2017, in international waters, after the ship left New Orleans en route to Belgium. During the Coast Guard boarding on December 7, 2017, crewmembers presented the ship’s Oil Record Book, which did not record this discharge. US Attorney for the District of Delaware David C. Weiss

“The defendant violated environmental laws that protect our marine environment from harmful pollution. The conviction and criminal fine, reinforced by a four-year term of probation, during which the defendant’s fleet of ships will be monitored, ensures that defendant is held accountable. The message to the shipping industry is clear: environmental crimes at sea will not be tolerated.”

The district court ordered Navimax to pay the $2,000,000 fine immediately and placed the company on probation for four years where it joins a slew of other flag of convenience operators which have committed similar offences and received fines up to tens of millions of dollars.

Photo: The ‘magic pipe’ in action. A shot of the deck of the Nave Cielo flanked by streams of oily waste issuing from the illegal pipe and the subsequent slick in the water.