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Fwd: [oil-spill-responders] Shipping Line Admits to Dumping Waste Oil

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  • Potter at Island Resources
    [see, it s not just cruise ships that get caught . . although regretfully, NOT in the Caribbean . . bp] ... -- -- -- -- -- - Island Resources Foundation -- --
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2005
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      [see, it's not just cruise ships that get caught
      . . although regretfully, NOT in the Caribbean .
      . bp]

      >Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 23:27:17 +0000
      >Subject: [oil-spill-responders] Shipping Line Admits to Dumping Waste Oil
      >One of the world's largest shipping lines pleaded guilty in Los
      >Angeles on Monday to secretly dumping waste oil from its massive
      >container ships and agreed to pay $25 million, which U.S. officials
      >called the largest fine ever in a federal case involving deliberate
      >pollution from ships.
      >The plea follows a four-year, five-state criminal probe of shipping
      >giant Evergreen International, which federal attorneys claim sought
      >to save time and money by routinely dumping waste oil into the ocean
      >instead of taking it to shore for disposal.
      >Under U.S. and international law, ships cannot dump their used oil
      >at sea. Instead, they must send it through a device that separates
      >the oil from water that may be dumped at sea.
      >But investigators found that at least seven Evergreen ships were
      >equipped with special "magic pipes" that bypassed the separator and
      >sent waste oil into the ocean, U.S. officials said Monday.
      >Evergreen spokeswoman Barbara Spector Yeninas said Monday that the
      >charges dated from 1998 through 2001, and that the company has not
      >been notified of any violations since then.
      >"There were certain employees that ignored the company policy" of
      >environmental compliance, Yeninas said. In the years since, the
      >company has improved crew training and upgraded its pollution
      >control equipment.
      >The probe began after the March 2001 discovery of a small oil spill
      >fouling the Columbia River, which divides Oregon and Washington.
      >The Coast Guard had "fingerprinted" oil from the 500-gallon spill
      >near Kalama, Wash., and knew that it matched oil from the nearby
      >Evergreen vessel Ever Group. But investigators couldn't figure out
      >how it got out.
      >Two Washington state investigators, convinced that the Ever Group
      >had caused the spill, kept boarding the company's ships.
      >In mid-May 2001, on the ship Ever Given, they found what government
      >sleuths would nickname a "magic pipe," a pipe section that crew
      >members used to bypass the ship's oil-water separator.
      >The investigation spread to Charleston, S.C., Newark, N.J., Seattle
      >and Los Angeles as federal and state investigators joined forces to
      >detect such piping on other Evergreen ships.
      >Evergreen employees tried to hide evidence from U.S. Coast Guard
      >investigators, wiping oil off some pipes and painting others to hide
      >wrench marks, federal officials said. Some engine room operators
      >directed crew members to deny knowledge of the bypass piping if
      >questioned by the Coast Guard, officials said.
      >Crew members of the Evergreen ship Ever Refine even threw a pipe
      >overboard in the Port of Los Angeles in May 2001 to hide it from
      >Coast Guard investigators, according to court papers
      >Crews on Evergreen ships also omitted entries from a record book in
      >which they are required by law to record disposal of oil residue,
      >or, in one case in L.A., falsely stated that oily bilge water had
      >been treated as required by law, court papers state.
      >On Monday, Evergreen pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to 24
      >felony charges and one misdemeanor brought in Los Angeles, Newark,
      >Portland, Seattle and Charleston.
      >In an unusual showing, representatives from U.S. attorneys' offices
      >in those regions joined federal environmental officials and others
      >Monday to announce the plea agreement on a pier overlooking the
      >Evergreen dock in the Port of Los Angeles.
      >Deputy Atty Gen. James Comey, in a written statement, praised the
      >U.S. Department of Justice's environmental crimes section for its
      >efforts, as well as U.S. attorneys from the five districts, the
      >Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard.
      >"The deliberate and purposeful pollution of our oceans and America's
      >waterways must be met with strict enforcement," Comey said.
      >The firm had been charged with making false statements, obstructing
      >Coast Guard inspections and failing to maintain accurate records of
      >oil processing.
      >The $25-million fee, to be split among the five districts, includes
      >$10 million for environmental projects in five states. In the L.A.
      >area, the money will go to Channel Islands National Park.
      >Last year, Evergreen unsuccessfully sought the contract for
      >operating the Los Angeles port's first "green" terminal, built with
      >cutting edge technology to reduce air and water pollution.
      >Even as the federal probe was underway, the Port of Los Angeles in
      >September 2002 gave its first-ever Environmental Excellence Award to
      >Evergreen, calling the company a leader in meeting environmental
      >standards for clean air and water.
      >Evergreen International, based in Panama, is part of the Evergreen
      >Group of Taiwan.
      >Under the agreement, four Evergreen companies — Evergreen
      >International, Evergreen Marine, Evergreen America and Greencompass
      >Marine S.A.—must secure every overboard valve and flange with
      >numbered tags, federal officials said.
      >Evergreen ships visiting the United States will be audited by an
      >outside firm, which, in turn, will be reviewed by a court-appointed
      >monitor, they said.
      >Yahoo! Groups Links

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