WASHINGTON, July 9, 2008 -- Italian shipping company B.Navi Ship Management Services (B.Navi) was sentenced today to pay $1,500,000 and serve three years probation in connection with the illegal dumping of oily sludge, bilge wastes, and oil-contaminated ballast water from the M/V Windsor Castle, a 27,000 gross-ton bulk carrier vessel, Ronald J. Tenpas, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Captain William Diehl, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston announced.
Engine room operations onboard large ocean-going vessels such as the M/V Windsor Castle generate large amounts of waste oil. International and U.S. law prohibit the discharge of waste oil without treatment by a device known as an Oil Water Separator. The law also requires that all of the oil transferred onto, off of, or between tanks within a ship be recorded in an oil record book so all the oil on a ship can be accounted for when the ship is inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard. B.Navi pleaded guilty on Feb. 7, 2008, to a two-count criminal information charging it with violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), and making materially false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard.
According to the plea agreements, on Aug. 17, 2007, the M/V Windsor Castle arrived at port in Houston, Texas and was boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard. During the boarding, Coast Guard inspectors learned that the vessel's Chief Engineer had ordered crew members to dump oil sludge and bilge wastes into the ocean and had falsified the ship's oil record book to conceal these discharges. With assistance from several lower level crew members, Coast Guard inspectors discovered and seized the bypass hose and pipes used to dump the oil sludge, bilge waste, and contaminated ballast water overboard.
The court sentenced B.Navi to pay a $1,200,000 criminal fine and ordered the company to make a $300,000 community service payment to the congressionally-established National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife, and plants and the habitat on which they depend. B. Navi is also subject to a three-year term of probation during which it must implement and follow a stringent environmental compliance program that includes a court-appointed monitor and auditing of B.Navi ships for compliance with environmental laws.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service working with marine investigators and vessel inspectors of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston. The case was prosecuted by the Justice Department's Environmental Crimes Section.