On 29 January 2014 the Selene Leader arrived in Baltimore and was controlled by the US coast guard. Irregularities were found, charges were brought and most recently the owning company pleaded guilty in violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) by neglecting to update and keep accurate oil record books (ORB).
Essentially it means admitting to illegally disposing of oil residue and bilge water overboard.
It appears the vessels oil record book was not maintained for this particular carrier (built in 2010), the violation is thus of considered ongoing for a prolonged period of time. It was found that the chief and first engineer had instructed the crew to part take in illegal discharge of the bilge water in order to bypass the pollution control equipment.
The company was sentenced to a $ 1.8 million fine for their severe neglect in addition to serving a probation period of three years. In this time frame the company must develop and implement an environmental compliance program which is ensured by outside auditors. Getting caught means getting scrutinized for a good while into the foreseeable future.
Captain Kevin Kiefer of the US Coast Guard comments: “The US Coast Guard is trying to send a message to the maritime industry that environmental compliance is not optional and that deliberate violators will be apprehended.” As such part of the fine, $250.000 was awarded to the Whistle blower on board the vessel who alerted the US Coast Guard and handed over proof of the illegal transfers.
The two captains will receive be sentenced on 20th of February and 3th of March 2015.
Read the full article at maritimecyprus.com.
While there are many degrees of non-compliance and the major part is not intentional the case highlights the lack of tolerance towards the shipping industry.