Shipping Firm Indicted |for Wastewater Dumping

     LAFAYETTE, La. (CN) – A federal grand jury indicted a Norwegian shipping company and four of its employees for discharges of contaminated wastewater into the sea.
     The grand jury returned a three-count indictment last week accusing Det Stavangerke Dampskibsselskab AS, also known as DSD Shipping, and its employees with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and obstruction of justice in connection with the illegal discharge of contaminated waste-water.
     DSD Shipping is a Norwegian-based shipping company that operates the oil-tanker M/T Stavanger Blossom in the transport of crude oil.
     Also indicted were four of the vessel’s engineering officers: Daniel Paul Dancu, of Romania; Bo Gao, of China; Xiaobing Chen, of China; and Xin Zhong, of China.
     Marine vessels such as the M/T Stavenger Blossom generate large quantities of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water. International and U.S. laws require the use of pollution prevention equipment to prevent the discharge of these waters.
     When discharge of pollution occurs the vessel’s engineers are required to keep record of the discharge in an oil log that is regularly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard.
     “Companies operating vessels in navigable waterways have a responsibility to prevent oil spills and protect the public and the environment,” said U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley for the Western District of Louisiana in a statement. “One of our priorities is to help preserve the natural resources of this state. Violators should be clear – charges will be filed against entities and persons who harm these resources and obstruct investigations.”
     The indictment says that in 2014 DSD Shipping and its employees discharged oil-contaminated waste water generated aboard the M/T Stavanger Blossom into the sea. To hide the illegal discharges, DSD Shipping and its employees kept a fictitious record book that made no record of the disposal, transfer, or overboard discharge of oil from the vessel.
     Before an inspection by the Coast Guard, Chen order the vessel’s crewmembers to remove piping connected to the vessel’s overboard discharge valve, install new piping, and repaint the piping to throw off the inspection, the indictment says.
     DSD Shipping and the engineering officers were charged with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for not recording overboard discharges in the vessel’s oil record book and with obstruction of justice for preparing false documents and deceiving the U.S. Coast Guard during an inspection in the Port of Lake Charles.
     If convicted, DSD Shipping could be fined $500,000 per count, in addition to other possible penalties.
     Dancu, Gao, Chen and Zhong face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the obstruction of justice charges.
     This is the second indictment against DSD Shipping, Dancu, Gao, Chen and Zhong, according to a report from the U.S. Justice Department.
     A joint, multidistrict investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Mobile, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Services and the Criminal Investigation Division for the Environmental Protection Agency previously indicted DSD Shipping, Dancu, Gao, Chen and Zhong in the Southern District of Alabama with a seven-count indictment charging related conduct.

%d bloggers like this: