U.S.: Liberian Shipping Company Sentenced to Pay $2.4 Million

On February 23, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland sentenced Cardiff Marine, Inc., a Liberian-registered shipping company, to a $2.4 million fine and 3 years of probation.   The company admitted falsifying records of illegal discharges of oily waste from the M/V Capitola, making false statements to the Coast Guard and other acts of concealment.  The sentence followed Cardiff Marine’s guilty plea to a felony violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.

 

The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS, 33 U.S.C. §§1905-1915) is a United States law that implements the provisions of MARPOL and the annexes to which the United States is a party.  The Act applies to all U.S.-flagged ships anywhere in the world and to all foreign-flagged vessels operating in navigable waters of the United States or while at port under U.S. jurisdiction. The Coast Guard has primary responsibility to prescribe and enforce regulations necessary to implement APPS in these waters. The regulatory mechanism established in APPS to implement MARPOL is separate and distinct from the Clean Water Act and other federal environmental laws.

 

The Coast Guard launched an investigation into the M/V Capitola on May 3, 2010, at the Port of Baltimore, after a crew member informed a clergyman, who was on board the Capitola on a pastoral visit, that there had been “monkey business in the engine room,” which involved a “magic pipe.”  The magic pipe referred to a bypass hose that permitted the crew to dump waste oil overboard and circumvent pollution prevention equipment required by U.S. law.  The crew member asked the minister to alert the U.S. Coast Guard and to pass on a flash drive bearing video taken in the ship’s engine room.  That triggered an inspection of the Capitola, and ultimately, a guilty plea.

 

Click here for a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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