Friday, May 29, 2015

Shipping Co. Fined for Alaska Waste Dump

By Mark Edward Nero

German shipping company AML Ship Management GMBH (AMLSM), was sentenced in federal court May 27 to pay $800,000 in fines and community service payments for violating clean water and pollution prevention laws by intentionally discharging 4,500 gallons of oily bilge water into the ocean off the coast of Alaska and then presenting false records to the US Coast Guard.

AMLSM was also ordered to implement a comprehensive environmental compliance plan and was placed on probation for three years. During the term of probation, AML is subject to a heightened level of scrutiny, including warrantless searches of its vessels and places of business based upon a reasonable suspicion that it is violating the law. Of the total payment, AMLSM will pay $675,000 in criminal fines and $125,000 in community restitution. The community restitution payment will go to the Alaska SeaLife Center to be used for projects and research that have a nexus to the oil pollution crime committed.

AMLSM is the operator of the M/V City of Tokyo, a 28-year-old, 603-foot vehicle carrier vessel that operates under the flag of the Republic of Liberia.

On or about Aug. 29, 2014, AMLSM knowingly discharged oily bilge water into the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone off the coast of Alaska. AMLSM admitted in court that while the City of Tokyo was about 165 nautical miles south of the Aleutian Islands, the chief engineer used an illegal pump system to knowingly discharge about 4,500 gallons of oily bilge water directly overboard.

The illegal pump system allowed the vessel’s crew to discharge oily bilge water from the bilge holding tank directly overboard without processing it through the required pollution prevention equipment. The overboard discharge created a sheen in the water off the stern of the vessel.

AMLSM and Chief Engineer Nicolas Sassin were charged in separate cases filed in both the District of Alaska and the District of Oregon. The Oregon charges against AML were transferred to Alaska, and the Alaska charges against Sassin were transferred to Oregon.

On May 22, the vessel’s chief engineer, Nicolas Sassin, was sentenced to five months of home confinement followed by five years of probation.