Fwd: [oil-spill-responders] Shipping Line Admits to Dumping Waste Oil
- [see, it's not just cruise ships that get caught
. . although regretfully, NOT in the Caribbean .
>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
>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
>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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