German ship fined for oily discharge in Alaska

2015-06-04 20:14

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Anchorage - A German shipping company on probation for dumping oily water off California in 2013 was sentenced Wednesday to pay $750 000 for a repeat offence in Alaska.

A ship owned by Herm Dauelsberg discharged an estimated 6 738 litres of oily water in US waters on a trip from China to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands earlier this year, said Assistant US Attorney Kevin Feldis.

"There's no excuse for this conduct," he said.

Herm Dauelsberg operates the 188m Lindavia, which took on fuel at a port in China in mid-January and experienced a significant fuel leak. Almost 136 274 litres of heavy fuel leaked through a corroded bulkhead into a cargo hold, Feldis said.

Ship owners arranged for the Lindavia to travel to a shipyard in South Korea.

"They did a fair amount of cleaning there but didn't finish the job," Feldis said.

When the Lindavia left Korea, heavy fuel remained in the bilge area of the cargo hold. The Lindavia travelled back to China and on January 28 departed for Dutch Harbor, a fishing port on Unalaska 1 287km southwest of Anchorage, with heavy oil still in the lowest portion of the cargo hold.

After rough weather, the Lindavia crew reported damage on the ship. When it reached Dutch Harbor on February 11, Coast Guard inspectors came aboard.

Environmental Compliance Plan

They determined that the crew had used a system of pumps and hoses to remove oily bilge water in the cargo hold. The polluted water was pumped to 200 litre barrels on the main deck and then pumped overboard.

According to a plea agreement, the ship failed to keep accurate records of its discharges and presented a fictitious oil record book to the Coast Guard.

A message seeking comment was left for the company's lawyer on Wednesday.

Herm Dauelsberg pleaded guilty in California in April 2014 to federal oil record book violations and failing to report hazardous conditions on the 290m Bellavia between August and October 2013. The company paid more than $1.25m in that case. New probation conditions were imposed after the Alaska violations.

As part of the Alaska conviction, Herm Dauelsberg was ordered to start an Environmental Compliance Plan and was placed on probation for three years. The company will be subject to warrantless searches of its vessels and places of business if investigators have a reasonable suspicion that it is violating the law, according to prosecutors.

Read more on:    us  |  environment  |  maritime

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