A court in North Carolina, USA has convicted two Greek shipping firms and two of their senior engineers for releasing oily waste directly into the Pacific Ocean and attempting to cover up the pollution.
Oceanic Illsabe Ltd and Oceanfleet Shipping Ltd, the owner and managing operator of the Ocean Hope cargo vessel, and two senior engineering officers on board the vessel were found guilty on nine counts, including violating US shipping pollution law, obstruction of justice, false statements, witness tampering and conspiracy.
In June 2015, the vessel discharged around 10 metric tons of sludge into the ocean when the second engineer ordered the crew to use a “magic pipe”, bypassing pollution prevention equipment, as well as to discharge contaminated water. The two officers also used an oily waste tank to store diesel fuel for sale on the black market. When the vessel arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina, the two men attempted to hide these discharges by presenting a false oil record book to US coastguard inspectors, and also ordered junior crew members to lie to the coastguard.
The companies could now be fined up to USD500,000 on each count, and the two engineers face up to 20 years in prison for the obstruction of justice.