d’Amico Shipping Italia will pay a USD 4 million penalty and be placed on probation for four years after violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships in the US.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the company pleaded guilty to the violations related to the deliberate concealment of vessel pollution from the oil tanker Cielo di Milano, sold in July 2018, which visited ports in New Jersey multiple times, as well as ports in Maryland and Florida.
The company admitted that the ship’s crew intentionally bypassed required pollution prevention equipment by discharging machinery space bilge water and oily waste from the vessel’s engine room through its sewage system into the sea.
d’Amico Shipping Italia also admitted that crew members falsified the vessel’s Oil Record Book, made false statements to the Coast Guard during its inspection of the tanker in January 2015, and destroyed the vessel’s sounding log after the Coast Guard had boarded the vessel.
Namely, from August 2014 through January 2015, the Cielo di Milano used two different methods to illegally dispose of oily waste, both of which involved discharging it from the vessel’s sewage holding tank into the sea. Some of the discharges took place within the exclusive economic zone, that is, within 200 nautical miles of the United States.
Two different chief engineers were involved in the illegal discharges and the intentional falsification of the Oil Record Book to cover up those discharges. One chief engineer falsified the Oil Record Book to state that bilge water had been processed through the vessel’s pollution control equipment when, in fact, it had not. Additionally, the crew routinely hid equipment used to conduct the discharges when the vessel entered port.
During a Coast Guard inspection of the vessel in Bayonne, New Jersey, in January 2015, the chief engineer and second engineer lied to inspectors and told lower-level crew members to lie as well.
After the Coast Guard departed the vessel, the chief engineer destroyed a notebook containing tank soundings by burning the pages in the vessel’s boiler flame in order to conceal the notebook from the Coast Guard.
The proposed USD 4 million penalty includes USD 1 million in organizational community service payments to restore the coastal environment of New Jersey. The plea agreement directs funds to environmental projects that will be selected by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support the cleanup of marine pollution, preservation of aquatic life, and restoration of the shorelines around Newark Bay.