US DOJ Slaps Shipping Polluters with Over USD 363 Million in Fines in 2016

The US Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division imposed criminal penalties to the amount of over USD 363 million throughout 2016 to shipping companies and crew for the intentional discharges of pollutants from ocean-going vessels in US waters.

At the end of fiscal year 2016, the division also imposed more than 32 years of confinement for those found guilty in these cases.

In December 2016, the division obtained the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution when it concluded the prosecution of Princess Cruise Lines Ltd.

The company pleaded guilty to seven felony charges and will pay a USD 40 million penalty, the DOJ said.

The first case of the new year involves two Greek shipping companies, Oceanic Illsabe Limited and Oceanfleet Shipping Limited. The two companies were fined USD 2.7 million after being convicted of obstructing justice, violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), tampering with witnesses, and conspiracy.

Oceanic Illsabe Limited is the owner of the M/V Ocean Hope, a large cargo vessel that was responsible for dumping oily waste into the Pacific Ocean during 2015, while Oceanfleet Shipping Limited was the managing operator of the vessel.

Each company was placed on a five-year term of probation and barred from sending ships to United States ports until its financial penalty has been satisfied.

The vessel’s two top engineers were previously convicted and sentenced to serve prison sentences in connection with these crimes.

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