JUNE 17, 2015 — Glasgow, Scotland, based Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd has been sentenced to pay a criminal penalty of $750,000 and placed on three years of probation. The company is the operator of the 9,000 dwt Panamanian flag reefer M/V Murcia Carrier and pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an accurate oil record book in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and providing false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard concerning the vessel's garbage record book.
According to the U.S.Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, on April 27, 2014, crew members on board the M/V Murcia Carrier dumped overboard several barrels containing hydraulic oil, at the direction of the vessel's Chief Mate, Valerii Georgiev. While Norbulk and Georgiev dispute the number of barrels dumped into the sea, the government believes that approximately 20 barrels were dumped overboard.
The dumping occurred in international waters off the coast of Florida while the vessel was in transit from Costa Rica to New Jersey. The dumping was not recorded in either the ship's oil record book or garbage record book as required.In an effort to conceal the dumping, crew members presented a U.S. Coast Guard boarding team with a false oil record book and garbage record book when the vessel arrived in Gloucester, New Jersey.
On June 15, 2015, Georgiev also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an accurate oil record book in violation of APPS. He is scheduled to be sentenced at a future date.
"Marine environmental protection is one of the Coast Guard's primary missions," said Captain Benjamin Cooper, Sector Commander, Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay. "The Coast Guard takes marine pollution seriously and works cohesively with our partner agencies to hold those who violate international law accountable for their actions. We anticipate the results of this case will deter future brazen illegal oil discharges into the sea."
The case was investigated by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service. It was prosecuted by Joel La Bissonniere of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathleen P. O'Leary and Matthew Smith of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey.