Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fidley Watch: Environmental Awards

Chris Philips, Managing Editor

A federal jury in the Eastern District of Virginia has acquitted both the owner, Angelex Ltd. and ISM manager Kassian Maritime Navigation Agency, Ltd., of the Antonis G. Pappadakis of sixteen felony charges alleging that they, through their agents and employees, engaged in illegal discharging of bilge water in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (“APPS”) and then attempted to hide the illegal discharges from the US Coast Guard. Magic pipe specialist attorneys including George M. Chalos and Briton Sparkman of international law firm Chalos & Co and Patrick Brogan of the Norfolk, Virginia firm of Davey & Brogan, represented the defendants. Who knew there were magic pipe specialists?

After a nine-day trial and two days of deliberations, the jury vindicated the defendants and rejected claims by the US Department of Justice that the illegal conduct was performed by the vessel’s crewmembers with the intent to benefit the defendants. Not only did every witness in the case confirm that the illegal conduct on board the vessel was hidden from the defendants, the defense further established that such conduct was in violation of the vessel’s “zero tolerance” pollution prevention policies and procedures, which strictly prohibited crewmembers from taking any “shortcuts” to bypass the vessel’s pollution prevention equipment.

While Angelex Ltd. and Kassian Maritime Navigation Agency, Ltd. are probably reeling from their attorney’s fees, the ruling is a victory nonetheless. It’s refreshing to see a company rewarded for its efforts at environmental stewardship.

Another award winning company is Jones Act-carrier Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE). This summer, TOTE, Inc. became the first US company to take home the Next Generation Shipping award at Nor-Shipping, the premier forum for the global maritime industry.

The Nor-Shipping 2013 Awards recognize achievement in energy efficiency, innovative ship design and young entrepreneurship. With a focus on innovation, the Next Generation Ship Award honors the most promising design for ships that will be at sea in the coming decade.

TOTE was honored for its Marlin Class of 3,100 TEU LNG-powered containerships (see Pacific Maritime Magazine, August 2013), ordered from San Diego’s General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in December 2012. Once completed in 2015, the 764-foot ships will operate in the US Jones Act market between Jacksonville, Fla., and San Juan, Puerto Rico as the world’s first LNG powered containerships. Construction on the ships will begin in March 2014.

TOTE’s choice of LNG fuel will reduce ship emissions 95 percent below even the world’s most stringent air quality standards, virtually eliminating Sulfur Dioxide (SOx), and Particulate Matter (PM), and will reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Nitrous Oxide (NO2) beyond any other fuel source.

TOTE is also moving forward with a project to convert its two existing ro/ro vessels to LNG. The conversion will be accomplished with the help of NASSCO, who delivered the vessels in 2003. Eight MAN engines will be converted to dual fuel diesel/LNG over the course of four years, with 30 to 40 percent of the work to be accomplished while the vessels are underway.