Interorient Marine Services pleads guilty to felony violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships
Interorient Marine Services Limited has pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and for failing to accurately maintain Ridgebury Alexandra Z’s oil record book.
According to the US Department of Justice, under the terms of the plea agreement, the company will pay a fine of US$2M and serve a four-year term of probation, during which all vessels operated by the company and calling on US ports will be required to implement a robust environmental compliance plan.
Senior ship officers employed by Interorient Marine Services Limited discharged approximately 332,000 litres of oily waste through oil prevention equipment that had been flushed with fresh water to give a false reading of the level of oil effluent being discharged.
Environment and Natural Resources Division assistant attorney general Jeffrey Bossert Clark said “By illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean, Interorient intentionally violated federal law that protects valuable marine resources and wildlife.”
“This conviction shows that corporations and individuals that wilfully flout our nation’s environmental laws will be held accountable by criminal prosecution.”
US Coast Guard Commander Daniel H Cost said “When potential criminal violations of our nation’s pollution laws are identified, we work closely with the Department of Justice to ensure any illegal activities are prosecuted to the fullest extent of law.”
The vessel’s captain, Vjaceslavs Birzakovs, was charged in a six-count indictment by a grand jury in the Western District of Louisiana on 29 November 2018, and his case is ongoing.
What is not reported is the circumstances surrounding the case. As international law firm Chalos & Co principal George Chalos noted the United States authorities aggressively pursue suspected violations of Marpol 73/78, which may have a bearing in this case.