Third company fined in U.S. ECA sulfur case

Written by Nick Blenkey
M/V Joanna case ruling


A U.S. Caribbean ECA offense that saw two companies hit with fines of $3 million back in 2019 has now brought a third company a criminal fine of $250,000.

Ionian Management Inc., a New York-based company that commercially manages three vessels— including the vessel involved in that incident, M/T Ocean Princess—was sentenced to pay the $250,000 fine on November 1. The company plead guilty before a U.S. District Court Judge in St. Croix to a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships in the District of the Virgin Islands. Ionian Management was also placed on probation for one year.

Essentially, the offense involved using fuel exceeding 0.10% by weight within the U.S. Caribbean Emissions Control Area (ECA). According to the U.S. Department of Justice “between January 3, 2017, and July 10, 2018, the M/T Ocean Princess entered and operated within the ECA using fuel that contained excessive sulfur on twenty-six separate occasions. The fuel was petroleum cargo that had been transferred to the fuel tanks as authorized by Ionian Management. Once authorized, the crew of the M/T Ocean Princess transferred the higher sulfur fuel from the cargo tanks into the bunker tanks and use it to fuel the vessel, even though it exceeded the 0.10% sulfur by weight maximum.”

The Department of Justice called the sentencing of the vessel’s commercial manager, Ionian Management, “the final chapter in this multi-year investigation and prosecution of the companies and individuals involved in the use of non-compliant, high-sulfur fuel in the operation and management of the M/T Ocean Princess.”

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