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April 16th, 2009

Ship Operator Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay $2.5M Fine for Concealing Vessel Pollution

On April 6, the Justice Department announced that Consultores De Navegacion, a Spanish company that operates the M/T Nautilus, an ocean-going chemical tanker ship, had pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston and had agreed to pay a fine of $2.5 million for criminal violations related to the overboard discharge of oil-contaminated bilge waste on the high seas.

The company pled guilty to conspiracy, falsification of records, false statements, obstruction, and two violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to maintain an accurate oil record book.

As part of the plea agreement, Consultores De Navegacion will serve 3 years of probation and implement a comprehensive environmental compliance plan to ensure there are no future violations of the law.

Engine room operations on board large oceangoing vessels such as the M/T Nautilus generate large amounts of waste oil and oil-contaminated bilge waste. International and U.S. law prohibits the discharge of waste containing more than 15 parts per million of oil and without treatment by an oily water separator-a required pollution prevention device. Federal law also requires ships to accurately record each disposal of oil-contaminated bilge water to have the oil record book available for inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard within the internal waters of the United States.

Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers has successfully represented numerous Jones Act seamen who have suffered the effects of exposure to pollutants while working offshore.  Please contact us at (713) 364-0723 for more information.

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