The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled claims with shipping company Swire Shipping and MMS Co. for violations of the Clean Water Act, specifically the EPA’s Vessel General Permit.
The settlement by Singapore-based Swire Shipping relates to ballast water treatment on three of its ships calling at ports in American Samoa and the United States. The settlement includes penalties totaling $67,075 for M/V Papua boss$19,906 for the M/V Chief of New Guineaand $50,019 for the M/V Lintanfor a total of $137,000.
MMS Co., a privately held company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, failed to comply with ballast water restrictions and failed to report accurate information in annual reports in US ports, resulting in a settlement of $110,509 in penalties M/T St. Pauli and $89,491 for the M/T Centennial Misumia total of $200,000.
The settlements resolve claims related to violations of the EPA’s General Ship Authorization issued under the Clean Water Act and are subject to a 30-day public comment period prior to final approval.
“EPA takes compliance with Vessel General Permits—a key element of the Clean Water Act—seriously. It is critical that ship owners and operators properly manage what they discharge into our oceans and meet their monitoring and reporting requirements,” said Martha Guzman, Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator. “Failure to comply with the permit can have a serious impact on the quality of our country’s waters, which are already threatened by port operations.”
Vessel self-inspections are required to identify potential sources of spillage, defective pollution prevention equipment, or other issues that could lead to permit violations. Ship discharges need to be monitored to ensure aquatic ecosystems are protected from contaminants and invasive species. Discharges of other waste streams regulated by the general ship permit may have toxic effects on local species or contain disease-causing organisms.