The U.S. Justice Department has sentenced two Greek Shipping companies to pay a total of USD $2.7 million in corporate penalties after they were found guilty of illegal waste disposal.
Oceanic Illsabe Limited and Oceanfleet Shipping were found guilty of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) at a federal jury in North Carolina. The shipping duo has also been tried for false statements, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and conspiracy.
This case has been ongoing since 2015, when during a routine inspection by the U.S. Coastal Guard, crew for the cargo ship M/V Ocean Hope deliberately attempted to hide oil leakage. According to the case, when the vessel arrived at the Port of Wilmington for inspection, senior engineers told crew members to cover up any evidence. During the inspection, a forged oil record booklet was also presented.
Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, John C. Cruden said “We are pleased with the substantial penalties imposed by the court, which reinforces that pollution doesn't pay.”
Cruden went on to add “We will continue to protect United States ports and waters, and uphold our treaty obligations, by vigorously prosecuting companies that dump oil at sea and then try to mislead U.S. Coast Guard inspectors with false statements and documents.”
Both companies have been placed on a five-year probation period and will no longer be able to send ships to U.S. ports. The vessel’s engineers have also been sentenced to 12 months in prison.
In other environmentally conscious news, the Port of Portland is suing chemical giant Monsanto for alleged contamination on port property.