Norwegian shipping company convicted of MARPOL violation in the US Ship’s crew

Norwegian shipping company Clipper Shipping has been convicted in a US federal court of violating the Ship Pollution Prevention Act and fined $1.5 million for dumping oily bilge water on its ships in Togo, West Africa had. The discharges were then removed from the oil log as required by law.

Twice in late September and early October 2021 during the MT Clipper Saturn anchored near Lome, Togo, the chief engineer ordered oily bilge water to be transferred to the gray water tank and then discharged directly overboard under cover of darkness. To achieve this, a section of piping was temporarily removed and a hose installed on the eductor system to dump the gray water tank overboard. The plumbing was then reinstalled and repainted to look as if nothing had been removed.

U.S. authorities learned of the discharges later in October during a Coast Guard Port State Control inspection in Houston, Texas.

“To put it simply, Clipper Saturn wanted to remove dirty, oily water from its ship. Instead of filtering out the dangerous elements as required, they decided to cut costs and just dump the entire contaminated mass into the sea. Unfortunately, they were caught while docking in Houston,” said US Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani of the Southern District of Texas (SDTX).

The case was investigated by the US Coast Guard Houston-Galveston Sector and the US Coast Guard Investigative Service investigated the case.

“We take seriously the crimes of illegally dumping oily bilge water into the sea and falsifying records to obstruct the United States’ ability to investigate these discharges,” said Deputy Attorney General Todd Kim of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Ministry of Justice. “The US Coast Guard must be confident in accurate shipboard records, and the Department of Justice will continue to ensure polluters are held fully accountable.”

In addition to the $1.5 million penalty, the company will also implement an expanded environmental compliance plan on nine ships as part of the consent agreement.

The US Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston and the US Coast Guard Investigative Service are investigating the case.

The Clipper Saturn is registered in Norway and managed by Stavanger-based Solvang ASA.

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