Norwegian Shipowner Indicted for Environmental Crimes
A U.S. federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a Norwegian-based shipping company and four employees on charges of obstruction of justice and environmental crimes.
According to a Mobile, Alabama court, DSD Shipping and four engineering officers used a bypass pipe- also known as a magic pipe- to circumvent pollution prevention equipment aboard the oil tanker M/T Stavanger Blossom back in 2014. Additionally, they are accused of concealing the discharge of oil and oil-contaminated waste water from the vessel into the sea and of discarding the oil-filled plastic bags overboard. International and U.S. law requires that vessels use pollution prevention equipment to preclude the discharge of oil and chemicals.
Prior to an inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard, Xiaobing Chen one of the engineers onboard ordered crew members to remove the bypass pipe and hide all evidence of illegal waste discharge. DSD shipping also maintained a fictitious oil record book that failed to report any records of oil disposal and which also contained false entries stating that pollution prevention equipment had been used when it had not been. This type of log is regularly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard to check for overboard discharges.
DSD Shipping faces fines of up to 500,000 for each of the seven counts listed in the indictment, and the engineering officers implicated in the crimes may each face sentences up to 20 year in prison.