Tanker Operator Blames Captain for Dumping Crimes

sea faith
File photo shows the Marshall Islands-flagged MT Sea Faith. Photo: MarineTraffic.com / marcel coster

The operator of a tanker busted for illegally dumping oily water and garbage waste at sea says the Master of the tanker “acted unilaterally” and against company policy. 

As gCaptain reported on Tuesday, Athens-based Sea World Management and Trading Inc. and the Master of the products tanker Sea Faith pleaded guilty to two violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships under the terms of a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The charges were for failing to maintain an accurate Oil Record and Garbage Record Books onboard the Sea Faith and illegally discharging oily waste and dumping garbage while operating off the coast of Texas between March 10 and March 18, 2017.

As part of the plea agreement, Sea World agreed to a fine of $2.25 million and three years probation. The Master, Captain Edmond Fajardo, was sentenced to six months in jail followed by two years supervised release and a $2,000 fine.

In court, both Sea World Management and Trading and Fajardo admitted that oil cargo residues and machinery space bilge water were illegally dumped from the Sea Faith directly into the ocean while the vessel was transiting to Corpus Christi, TX, without the use of required pollution prevention equipment. They further admitted that these discharges were not recorded in the vessel’s Oil Record Book as required by law.

In a statement provided to gCaptain, Sea World confirmed the plea but passed blame to the Captain Fajardo, who the company says acted on his own in committing the crimes.

“Sea World Management, while accepting its position as manager of the vessel and employer of the Master, states that in illegally discharging oily water and garbage waste, Captain Fajardo acted unilaterally and in total contravention of the Company’s policies in relation to the correct processing of cargo residues and machinery space bilge water and waste, together with the correct recording of all actions in the appropriate record books,” the statement said.

Sea World says that since the allegations of the discharges came to light in March 2017, the company has taken several actions to ensure its environmental policy is monitored and strictly enforced across its fleet. The company listed a few of these actions:

• Contracted the services of one of the most reputable US based Companies that has performed a number of on board Voluntary Environmental Assessment & Conformance Audits (VEACA).
• Third party Forensic audits by one of the leading US based Companies in its field.
• Increase of shipboard visits by both the management and Superintendents including a “Compliance Team” to randomly patrol the ships and verify compliance and provide additional guidance.

The statement from Sea World also revealed some details on the situation for the rest of the Sea Faith’s crew:

“Of the 21 complement of the Sea faith, 12 crew members plus the Captain have been held in the US since March. Sea World Management is making strenuous efforts to ensure the 12 crew are repatriated to their homes with all possible speed.”