Skip to main content

US takes action against "magic pipe" polluters

23 Dec 2014
Two recent cases indicate the seriousness with which the US authorities deal with ships that attempt to evade pollution prevention requirements through the use of "magic pipes" to discharge oily waste water straight into the sea.

The New Orleans court has convicted a Greek chief engineer from the Trident Navigator for knowingly falsifying the vessel’s oil record book, obstruction of justice and witness tampering after he ordered his engineering crew to construct such a pipe to discharge oily waste.

Two of the crew reported the illegal discharge to the coast guard. When coast guard inspectors boarded the vessel in January, the chief engineer attempted to hide the oil record book and ordered his crew to lie to the coast guard about the illegal discharge.

The vessel's operator, Marine Managers Ltd, had previously pleaded guilty to knowingly falsifying the oil record book and obstruction of justice, and paid a criminal penalty of USD900,000.

In the second case, in Florida, an Italian shipping firm, Carbofin, pleaded guilty to violating ship pollution prevention law by falsifying the records to cover up the illegal discharge of contaminated waste.

The pollution had taken place on its vessel Marigola, which had called into Tampa on three occasions in 2013 and 2014.

Two crew members reported the use of the "magic pipe", with video evidence, when coast guard boarded the vessel for a routine inspection.

Following a plea bargain, the shipowners agreed to pay a criminal penalty of USD2.75 million, of which USD600,000 will go to the Florida National Keys Marine Sanctuary.

Post new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.