A Norwegian shipping firm was found guilty in federal court earlier this month of dumping about 20,000 gallons of oil waste into the sea and trying to hide it from inspectors. The jury found that Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskap attempted to conceal the discharge of the oil waste byproduct and the oil-contaminated waste water from the U.S. Coast Guard. The ship, a 56,172 gross ton oil tanker, was docked in the Port of Mobile, but the oil was dumped at an unspecified location.
Crew members of the ship’s engine department emptied the waste from Aug. 5 to Nov 12, 2014, without documenting it as mandated by international and U.S. law. DSD was found guilty on Nov. 6 in U.S. District Court of Mobile of conspiracy, failure to maintain an accurate oil record book, failure to maintain an accurate garbage record book, two counts of aiding and abetting and witness tampering. It was acquitted of obstruction of justice. U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown, in a press release, stated:
We will continue to prosecute corporations and individuals to protect our resources here along the Gulf Coast as well as around the World. We need to ensure that all foreign vessels and corporations comply with U.S. Coast Guard Examinations to ensure these resources are protected.
Hopefully, this case involved an isolated and rare incident. However, it’s likely that this sort of thing may well be more of a real problem than we realize. If so, adverse and most serious environmental issues will certainly arise because of the damage done.