DSD Shipping accused of ‘magic pipe’use

May 15 2015

A US federal grand jury in Mobile, Alabama, has charged Stavanger-based Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab (DSD Shipping) and four employees with seven counts of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), conspiracy, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

According to various reports, including Marine Log, also indicted were four engineer officers - three Chinese and one Romanian - employed on board DSD’s Aframax ‘Stavanger Blossom’at the time of the alleged incident.

According to the indictment as reported, in 2014, DSD Shipping and its employees conspired to bypass pollution prevention equipment on board the ‘Stavanger Blossom’ and to conceal the direct discharge of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water from the vessel into the sea.

Both international and US law requires that vessels use pollution prevention equipment to stop the discharge of waste. Should any overboard discharges occur, they must be documented in the ship’s oil record book, which is regularly inspected by the US Coast Guard.

The US Department of Justice reportedly said that despite these requirements, DSD Shipping and its employees, used a bypass pipe to circumvent pollution prevention equipment and discharge waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water directly into the sea.

Also according to the Department of Justice, DSD Shipping and its employees  filled plastic bags with waste oil from a sludge tank on board the vessel and then threw the oil-filled plastic bags overboard.

The indictment further alleges that prior to a USCG inspection, one of the Chinese engineers ordered crew members to remove the bypass pipe, install a new pipe and repaint the piping to hide the illegal discharges.

Two Chinese engineers then allegedly ordered seafarers to lie to the USCG and instructed them to say that no plastic bags containing waste oil were discarded overboard, that all plastic bags remained on board the vessel and to provide the incorrect quantity of bags generated from the cleaning of the sludge tank.

To further hide the illegal discharges of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water, DSD Shipping and its employees were said to have maintained a fictitious oil record book that failed to record the disposal, transfer, or overboard discharge of oil from the vessel, according to the indictment, which also said that the oil record book contained false entries stating that pollution prevention equipment had been used when it had not, Marine Log’s report said.

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 garbage record book and with obstruction of justice and witness tampering for presenting false documents and deceiving the USCG during an inspection.

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

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