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M/T PS Dream. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

M/T PS Dream. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Shipping Companies Face $2M Fine After Pleading Guilty to Environmental Crimes

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 2111
May 22, 2024

Two connected shipping companies, Prive Overseas Marine LLC and Prive Shipping Denizcilik Ticaret, have admitted to conspiracy, knowingly violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), and obstruction of justice. The charges stem from falsifying the oil record book on board their tanker, the PS Dream.

The guilty pleas were submitted in a New Orleans federal court before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown. If the court approves the plea agreement, the companies will be fined a total of $2 million and serve four years of probation.

The case originated from a report made by a crew member on January 11, 2023, who shared a video with the Coast Guard showing oil being pumped overboard from the tanker. Upon the ship’s arrival in New Orleans two weeks later, the whistleblower and another crew member provided evidence to the Coast Guard.

The companies had presented falsified logs to the Coast Guard during its inspection to hide the fact that the crew had dumped oil-contaminated waste overboard during the voyage to New Orleans, violating an international treaty regulating oil pollution from ships, MARPOL Annex I.

“Deliberate pollution from ships, intentional falsification of records and obstruction of justice are serious environmental crimes that will be vigorously prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

The proposed $2 million criminal penalty includes $500,000 in community service payments that will fund maritime environmental projects in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The whistleblowers who provided evidence leading to the conviction may also receive up to $500,000 from the fine.

Separate charges have been filed against the Turkish Master of the PS Dream, Captain Abdurrahman Korkmaz. Captain Korkmaz was charged with two counts: a violation of APPS and obstructing the Coast Guard’s inspection of the ship.

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