A Singaporean shipping company has been sentenced to pay a fine of $1 million and serve two years of probation for failing to maintain an accurate oil record book and false statements concerning the illegal dumping of oil-contaminated bilge water at sea.
U.S. District Court Judge Helen Gillmor handed down the sentence to Hai Soon Ship Management on 12 July 2018 relating to charges in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS).
According to court documents and information presented in court, Hai Soon Ship Management is the operator of the 3,878 gross ton oil tank vessel called the Hai Soon 39, which provided refueling services to fishing vessels operating at sea.
In October of 2017, the Chief Engineer of the Hai Soon 39, along with other engine room staff, constructed a hose in the engine room to bypass the ship’s pollution prevention equipment, including its oil-water separator, and pump oily waste directly overboard. The resultant discharges were never recorded in the ship’s oil record book, as required by APPS, and the Chief Engineer made false entries in the oil record book to make it appear that the discharges had been routed through the oil-water separator when in fact they had not.
“The marine environment that surrounds the Hawaiian Islands is unique, and part of the Islands’ natural beauty,” said U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price. “This Office will continue to work with the U.S. Coast Guard and use every tool at its disposal to bring to justice those who violate the law by polluting the sea.”
As part of its sentence, Hai Soon Ship Management will be placed on a two-year term of probation that includes the environmental compliance plan to ensure, among other things, that all of the ships the company operates that come to the United States fully comply with all applicable marine environmental protection requirements established by national and international laws.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Investigative Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ken Sorenson and Amalia Fenton.
In an unrelated incident in January, a crew member on board the Hai Soon 39 was killed after he was stabbed by a fellow crew member during an altercation as the ship was in Honolulu Harbor, according to an AP report.