DSD indicted for the second time

Jun 19 2015

Norwegian-based shipping company Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab (DSD Shipping) is facing further charges in the US, according to reports from that country.

A federal grand jury in Lafayette, Louisiana recently returned a three-count indictment charging the company and four of its employees with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and the obstruction of justice.

According to the indictment, in 2014, DSD Shipping and its employees discharged oil-contaminated wastewater generated on board the 2007-built Aframax ‘Stavanger Blossom’ directly into the sea.

To hide the illegal discharges, DSD Shipping and its employees maintained a fictitious oil record book that failed to record the disposal, transfer, or overboard discharge of oil from the vessel.

The indictment further alleges that prior to an inspection by the US Coast Guard, crew members were ordered to remove piping connected to the vessel’s overboard discharge valve, install new piping, and repaint the piping to hinder a USCG inspection.

DSD Shipping and the engineering officers were charged with violating the APPS for failing to record overboard discharges in the vessel’s oil record book and with obstruction of justice for presenting false documents and deceiving the USCG during an inspection in Lake Charles, the reports said.

If convicted, DSD Shipping could be fined up to $500,000 per count, in addition to other possible penalties. Four seafarers face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the obstruction of justice charges.

This is the second indictment arising from a joint, multi-district investigation by the USCG, as in May, DSD Shipping and the four seafarers were indicted in the Southern District of Alabama with a seven-count indictment charging related conduct.

On 13th May, 2015, DSD Shipping entered a plea of not guilty to all criminal charges filed by US Department of Justice in Mobile, Alabama.

”We are disappointed by the course of action taken by the Department of Justice. We believe the allegations are unfounded and we believe that a jury will agree once the facts are presented. We have offered our complete co-operation since the onset of the investigation and have made our vessel’s staff (11 personnel) in Mobile, Alabama, and the company’s senior management available to the prosecution since Nov 2014,” an official statement by DSD Shipping said.

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