Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ship Owner, Operator Fined After Port of Portland Oil Spill

Weeks after an oil spill at the Port of Portland, the owner and operator of a Cyprus-flagged ship involved in the incident have pleaded guilty to federal charges of environmental pollution.

On Nov. 2, Greece-based A.E. Nomikos Shipping Inv. and Lounia Shipping Co. of Cyprus, the owner and operator of the 620-foot Arion SB, were jointly fined $750,000 by a US federal judge.

The companies admitted to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, failing to maintain proper records of oil residue disposals and doctoring records of its onboard waste-oil incinerator.

The US Attorney’s office has said the case isn’t specifically tied to the oil spill, but to the findings of an Oct. 16 safety exam by the US Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency. The spill occurred Oct. 18 at a Port of Portland export terminal.

About 300 fish were found dead in the water after the spill, state wildlife officials say. Although a clear link between the incident and the deaths of the fish still has not been established, half of money from the fine has been designated for the Oregon Governor’s Fund for the Environment, which is administered by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.