$2 Million Fine for Greek Shipowner in Magic Pipe Conviction

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On December 13, the United States Department of Justice sentenced Navimax Corporation and ordered them to pay a fine of $2,000,000 for violating the act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and obstructing a Coast Guard investigation.

Fined for using magic pipe

The vessel was fined for using a so-called ‘magic pipe’ to illegally discharge oil residues into the ocean and causing detriment to the environment. In order to ensure that the oily waste is properly stored and processed at sea, all ocean-going ships entering the United States ports must maintain an oil record book in which all transfers and discharges of oily waste, regardless of the ship’s location in international waters, are fully recorded.

The district court ordered Navimax to pay the $2,000,000 fine immediately and placed the company on probation for four years where it joins a slew of another flag of convenience operators which have committed similar offenses and received fines up to tens of millions of dollars.

Background of the incident

On December 2017, a 750-foot long oil tanker ‘Nave Cielo’ owned by a subsidiary of Navios Maritime Holdings. The United States Coast Guard boarded the vessel near Delaware City when a crewmember gave the officers a thumb drive containing two separate videos depicting a high-volume discharge of dark brown and black oil waste from a five-inch pipe, located 15-feet above water level.

During a comprehensive inspection conducted on the scenario, disclosed that the approximately 10-minute discharge occurred on November 2, 2017, in international waters, after the ship left New Orleans en route to Belgium. During the Coast Guard boarding on December 7, 2017, crewmembers presented the ship’s oil record book, which did not record this discharge.

Warning Issued 

The United States Attorney for the District of Delaware David C. Weiss said, “The defendant violated environmental laws that protect our marine environment from harmful pollution. The conviction and criminal fine, reinforced by a four-year term of probation, during which the defendant’s fleet of ships will be monitored, ensuring that the defendant is held accountable. The message to the shipping industry is clear: environmental crimes at sea will not be tolerated”.

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Source: Handy Shipping Guide

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