Bulker operator fined $1.5 million in pollution case

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Japan’s Misuga Kaiun Co. Ltd. has been fined $1.5 million after pleading guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by failing to accurately maintain an oil record book and covering up discharges of oily water from the 61,414 dwt Panamanian flag bulker M/V Diamond Queen.

Imposing the fne on July 29, in U.S. District Court in Orlando, Fla., Judge Paul G. Byron also placed Misuga on probation for a period of four years and ordered the company implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan as a special condition of probation.

The chief engineer of the Diamond Queen, Cloyd Dimapilis, also pleaded guilty to falsifying the oil record book, and was sentenced to one year of probation.

In pleading guilty, Misuga admitted that the chief engineer knowingly failed to record the overboard discharge of oily bilge water without the use of required pollution-prevention equipment. The discharges occurred on multiple occasions, from approximately April 2019 until the vessel arrived in Port Canaveral, Florida, on May 22, 2020.

Prior to the ship’s arrival in Port Canaveral on May 22, a junior crewmember informed the U.S. Coast Guard that he had information about illegal discharges that had taken place on the vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched Port State Control Examiners to conduct an inspection of the vessel. Examiners discovered evidence of the system that was used to discharge oily water from the vessel in order to bypass the vessel’s oily water separator.

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