The Justice Department and the U.S. Coast Guard have recently announced that Arab Ship Management Ltd., a Jordan-based shipping company, has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
According to the plea agreement, Arab Ship Management must pay a criminal penalty totaling $500,000. The company has also been placed on probation for two years, which forbids Arab Ship Management’s ships from calling on United States ports.
“The defendant violated environmental laws that protect our marine environment from harmful pollution,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware Charles M. Oberly III. “This conviction ensures that the defendant is held accountable with a criminal fine and a contribution to conservation efforts in coastal Delaware, as well as a two-year ban from United States ports. The message to the shipping industry is clear: environmental crimes at sea will not be tolerated.”
“This case demonstrates one way the Coast Guard acts to protect the environment,” said Captain Kathy Moore, U.S. Coast Guard Commander of Sector Delaware Bay. “Marine Inspectors detected serious problems with the ship’s operations. They dove into the details and worked with the Department of Justice and the Coast Guard Investigative Service to bring this case to an appropriate resolution.”
Court documents and statements show that Arab Ship Management Ltd. was in operation of the M/V Neamah, a 6,398-gross-ton ocean-going livestock carrier. An inspection of the vessel was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard on March 28, 2013 in the Delaware Bay Big Stone Anchorage. However, the inspection and following criminal investigation revealed heavy sludge inside the piping on the discharge side of the pollution prevention equipment pouring directly overboard.
Pollution Prevention equipment, if operated correctly, should prohibit dangerous sludge from being allowed to pump directly overboard. Inspectors discovered that the piping arrangement had been altered since arriving in Delaware so that the inspection would not take the forbidden piping arrangement into account.
In conjunction with this offense, Coast Guard officers received two oil record books that contained different and contradictory entries for the time period of Nov. 30, 2011, through Jan. 2, 2012, including fake oily waste disposal receipts. By law, all record books are to be accurately maintained while onboard the ship.
Department of Justice