New Orleans Bound Ships Caught in Major Oil Dumping Scandal

Two shipping companies have been fined after knowingly hiding a large oil spill in the Atlantic Ocean.

$2 Million Fine for Oil Waste Spill

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Two shipping companies have agreed to pay a $2 million fine in court after the motor tanker “PS Dream,” owned by the companies, dumped oil waste into the Atlantic Ocean on the path to New Orleans.

A Guilty Plea

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UAE-based company Prive Overseas Marine LLC PS Dream and Turkey-based Prive Shipping Denizcilik Ticaret pleaded guilty to several federal charges on Tuesday, according to The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Several Charges

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These charges included conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and the knowing violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.

Falsifying Logs for Their Benefit

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The two companies were found guilty of willfully falsifying logs from the tanker in question, which was required by law to record its movements in an Oil Record Book.

“Deceit and Willful Pollution”

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United States Attorney Duane A. Evans made it clear that both companies will be held accountable for “deceit and willful pollution.”

Four Years of Probation on Top

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The court still has yet to approve the companies’ plea agreement, but if it does the companies will have to serve four years of probation along with the $2 million fine. 

Evidence Handed to New Orleans Coast Guard

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Evidence of their environmental crimes was put forward in a video given to the Coast Guard New Orleans Sector by a crew member of the PS Dream in July last year.

Video Evidence

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The video showed evidence of oil being pumped overboard on the tanker, as well as a trail of oil following the tanker in the water. 

Careless Leadership

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Further documents were also presented that showed that the tanker ship master had given the order for the crew to pump out the excess oil waste without bothering to monitor how much had gone overboard.

Court Documents Explain the Details

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“A portable pump placed inside the tank and connected to a long flexible hose was used to discharge directly into the ocean without any required pollution prevention equipment or monitoring” the court documents read.

Improper Transferral of Waste

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“The waste oil, including sludge, originated in the engine room and had been improperly transferred into the residual oil tank on the deck of the ship by a prior crew,” they elaborated further.

Senior Managers Made Aware

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Court documents also asserted that senior managers working for Prive Shipping, who were not present on the tanker at the time, were at least somewhat aware of the lax and illegal waste disposal on the PS Dream.

“Informed by the Ship Master

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“Senior managers at Prive Shipping were aware that the oil-contaminated waste remained in the tanks and were informed by the ship’s master that it had been dumped overboard,” one document asserted. 

From Malaysia to America

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While the evidence was presented in July, the actual incident occurred in January 2023 as the PS Dream traveled from Malaysia to New Orleans.

Damning Statement 

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Following the verdict, Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division released a damning statement on the case, and a warning to other companies that are in a position to pollute the environment.

“They Will be Vigorously Prosecuted”

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“Deliberate pollution from ships, intentional falsification of records, and obstruction of justice are serious environmental crimes that will be vigorously prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Kim said. 

The Ocean is Not a Dumping Ground

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“Maritime laws regulating pollution from ships are intended to ensure that ocean waters are not used as a dumping ground,” he concluded. 

A Fine for the Environment

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What’s more, one-quarter of the fine will be given back to environmental protection groups in the coastal area around New Orleans, near where the oil was spilled.

Half a Million to Environmental Protection

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“Criminal prosecutions are needed to deter deliberate efforts to circumvent our Nation’s anti-pollution laws. Importantly, $500,000 of the criminal penalty will go toward environmental protection of the marine environment in our area,” said Evans.

Separate Case for Ship Master

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While this week’s verdict was made against the companies, which are both owned by the same holding company, a separate case is being levied against the tanker ship master, Abdurrahman Korkmaz, the US Justice Department confirmed.

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The post New Orleans Bound Ships Caught in Major Oil Dumping Scandal first appeared on EcoHugo.

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