Singapore-based ODFJELL ASIA II PTE LTD (“OAII”), which was convicted in 2014 of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, has admitted to violating the conditions of its probation, announced Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Jeffrey H. Wood, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). As a result, OAII’s term of probation, which was scheduled to conclude this month, was extended by one year, and the company has agreed to additional probation conditions.
U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford sentenced OAII to a three-year term of probation and a total criminal penalty of $1.2 million dollars for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (“APPS”). The APPS is the U.S. law that implements the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (“MARPOL”). A special condition of probation required OAII to implement remedial environmental measures as part of an Environmental Management System Plan (EMS/P). As part of the EMS/P, OAII was required to implement enhanced procedures for internal reporting of violations.
A crewmember reported to OAII that, while he was serving onboard OAII’s vessel Bow Santos, there may have been a MARPOL compliance issue involving the disposal of machinery-space bilge water in December 2015. OAII reported the possible MARPOL compliance issue to U.S. authorities and conducted an internal investigation. During OAII’s internal investigation, the vessel’s chief engineer, Oswaldo Dela Torre Salazar, denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, any MARPOL violations. Upon completion of its internal investigation, OAII was unable to determine whether a MARPOL violation occurred.
The U.S. and OAII agree that there was a breakdown in OAII’s internal reporting system in that it took more than six months before any crewmember of the Bow Santos reported the alleged incident to OAII. OAII also agrees that the breakdown in OAII’s internal reporting system constitutes a probation violation because the EMS/P’s internal reporting system had not been fully implemented as required by the special conditions ordered by the court.
As a result of this violation, on May 15, 2017, Judge Bryant ordered that OAII’s term of probation be extended for one year. During the additional year of probation, the Bow Santos will undergo an environmental audit, and OAII must notify the U.S. Probation Office, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Coast Guard if Oswaldo Dela Torre Salazar is serving onboard an OAII vessel bound for a U.S. port.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, Coast Guard Investigative Service, and Coast Guard office of Investigations and Analysis (CG-INV). This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, and Trial Attorney Stephen Da Ponte in the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.