Company Will Pay After Ship Sullies US Waters

The Star Maia dumped oily bilge water without properly processing it, lied about it
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2023 10:10 AM CDT
Company Will Pay After Ship Sullies US Waters
A stock photo of a cargo ship at sea.   (Getty Images / liorpt)

A foreign shipping company that sullied US waters will pay for doing so. US officials on Tuesday said the Germany- and Singapore-based Zeaborn Ship Management would pay a $2 million fine for dumping oily bilge water—which USA Today describes as "a mix of filthy water, lubricants, grease, cleaning fluids, and other contaminants"—off the coast of California from the Star Maia at least four times between June and October 2022. The more then 7,500 gallons of water had not been processed through pollution prevention equipment as required, and the Star Maia's chief engineer and captain admitted falsely recording the discharges as having been properly treated, per a DOJ press release on the company's guilty plea.

The Maritime Executive calls the disposal an illegal but common "cost-saving practice" and explains that while "these infractions might attract a deficiency note or a detention during an inspection overseas ... in the United States, maintaining a falsified oil record book is a felony offense." Indeed, the ship's captain and chief engineer pleaded guilty to one felony violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships regarding the inaccurate record keeping and will be sentenced Dec. 1.

The men also admitted that garbage including paper, plastics, and oily rags was also burned in barrels on the ship's deck three or four times in the same period, and that the barrels were then tossed in the ocean. Nothing related to those acts was recorded in the vessel's garbage book. "This prosecution highlights the Justice Department and the US Coast Guard's continued dedication in safeguarding our maritime environment against those that seek to deliberately harm our natural resources," said Sector Commander Captain James W. Spitler of the US Coast Guard's Sector San Diego. (Read more pollution stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.