Some ship operators are still looking for ways to skirt an international ban on the release of oily waste into ocean waters, in some cases using a tool known as a “magic pipe” to bypass cleaning devices, despite a crackdown on the practice.
The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday said Japanese cargo-vessel company Nitta Kisen Kaisha Ltd. will pay a $1 million fine after admitting its engineers poured pollutants into waters off North Carolina and tried to cover up the operation with false paperwork. Prosecutors said the ship carrying industrial materials to the state discharged the oily waste through hidden hoses that the U.S. Coast Guard discovered during an inspection in May 2017.
Nitta and its chief engineer were placed on probation, and the firm was ordered along with the fine to implement a compliance plan that will be monitored for three years.
The conviction was the latest by federal authorities to bring criminal charges against shipping companies that violate the U.S. Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the domestic law enforcing International Maritime Organization conventions on ship pollution.