Friday, April 8, 2016

Shipper Fined in Hawaii Pollution Case

By Mark Edward Nero

A US District Court judge on April 5 accepted the guilty plea of South Korean maritime operations company Doorae Shipping Co., and sentenced the company to pay a $750,000 fine regarding the discharge of oil contaminated bilge water in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands.

Doorae Shipping was also ordered to make a community service payment of $200,000, and was given a term of two years of probation. The company was charged with the failure to maintain an accurate oil record book, in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and making false statements to the US Coast Guard.

Information produced to the court established that instead of running bilge water through an oil water separator, the chief engineer of the Doorae-operated oil tanker B. Sky discharged more than 500 gallons of oily machinery space bilge water directly into the ocean.

The chief engineer of B. Sky, Jeung Mun, pled guilty to one charge of causing the maintenance of a faulty oil record book in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. Mun’s sentencing is scheduled for July 27.

The court-approved $200,000 community service payment, per an agreement between the government and Doorae, is to be donated to the National Fish and Wildlife Service Foundation to fund projects that preserve and enhance coral reefs and reef ecosystems in Hawaii.

“The oceans and marine wildlife must be protected from marine companies that look to cut corners by dumping untreated waste,” said Jay M. Green, special agent in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal enforcement program in Hawaii.

“The defendants in this case falsified their log books in an attempt to conceal their crimes, but thanks to the thoroughness of Coast Guard and EPA investigators and the persistence of the United States Attorney’s Office, the defendants got caught,” Green said.