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Korean Shipping Firm Falls Foul Of US Pollution Laws

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

13 September 2006


The US Department of Justice announced last week that the Sun Ace Shipping Company, based in Seoul, South Korea, has pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, in relation to the operation of a bulk carrier vessel, the M/V Sun New.

The DoJ revealed that the defendant, which was the operator and manager of a fleet of five ships, was charged with knowingly failing to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book that fully recorded the disposal of oil residue and bilge into the ocean, and then falsifying records to conceal illegal discharges.

A joint factual statement filed in District Court in New Jersey stated that, on the night of Jan 3, 2006, US Coast Guard inspectors boarded the Sun New and discovered that members of the engine room crew had used bypass hoses to discharge oily wastes overboard into the ocean without using the vessel’s oil-water separator.

Upon further investigation, inspectors discovered that the crew of the Sun New had disposed of oil waste into the ocean at least twice during the voyage from South Korea to New Jersey.

Engine room operations on board large oceangoing vessels such as the Sun New generate large amounts of waste oil. International and US laws prohibit the discharge of waste oil without treatment by an Oily Water Separator. The law also requires that all overboard discharges be recorded in an Oil Record Book, a required log which is regularly inspected by the Coast Guard.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the Sun Ace Shipping Company will pay a $400,000 penalty and a $100,000 community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Program, Delaware Estuary Grants Program, which will be used to protect and restore the natural resources of the Delaware Estuary and its watershed.

The Sun Ace Shipping Company will also be subject to a three year term of probation, during which its vessels will be banned from US ports and waters.


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