Odfjell Admits to Violating US Probation
Singapore-based Odfjell Asia II Pte Ltd, which was convicted in 2014 of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, has admitted to violating the conditions of its probation, the US Department of Justice said.
As a result, the company’s term of probation, which was scheduled to conclude this month, was extended by one year, and the company has agreed to additional probation conditions.
Back in May 2014, the US District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford, Connecticut sentenced Odfjell Asia II, a subsidiary of Odfjell SE, to a three-year term of probation and a total criminal penalty of USD 1.2 million for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
A special condition of probation required the company to implement remedial environmental measures as part of an Environmental Management System Plan (EMS/P). As part of the EMS/P, the company was required to implement enhanced procedures for internal reporting of violations.
On May 16, 2016, a crewmember reported to Odfjell Asia II that, while he was serving onboard the company’s oil/chemical tanker Bow Santos, there may have been a MARPOL compliance issue involving the disposal of machinery-space bilge water in December 2015. The company reported the possible MARPOL compliance issue to US authorities and conducted an internal investigation.
During the internal investigation, the vessel’s chief engineer, Oswaldo Dela Torre Salazar, denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, any MARPOL violations. Upon completion of its internal investigation, the company was unable to determine whether a MARPOL violation occurred.
The US and Odfjell Asia II agree that there was a breakdown in the company’s internal reporting system in that it took more than six months before any crewmember of the Bow Santos reported the alleged incident to the company.
Odfjell Asia II has also agreed that the breakdown in its internal reporting system constitutes a probation violation because the EMS/P’s internal reporting system had not been fully implemented as required by the special conditions ordered by the court, the Department of Justice said.
As a result of this violation, on May 15, 2017, Judge Bryant ordered that the company’s term of probation be extended for one year. During the additional year of probation, the Bow Santos will undergo an environmental audit, and Odfjell Asia II must notify the US.Probation Office, the US Department of Justice and the US Coast Guard if Oswaldo Dela Torre Salazar is serving onboard a company’s vessel bound for a US port.