Vessel Operator, Master Fined for Pollution Crimes

Operator and Master of the 2003-built oil products tanker Sea Faith were convicted on February 26 for maintaining false and incomplete oil and garbage discharge records.

According to the US Department of Justice, Sea World Management & Trading and Edmon Fajardo pleaded guilty to two felony violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to accurately maintain the tanker’s Oil Record Book and Garbage Record Book, while it was operating off the coast of Texas.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the company will pay a total fine of USD 2.25 million and serve a 3-year term of probation during which all of the vessels operated by the company and calling on U.S. ports will be required to implement a robust Environmental Compliance Plan. Fajardo was sentenced to six months incarceration to be followed by two years supervised release and a USD 2,000 fine.

Sea World Management & Trading and Fajardo Both admitted that oil cargo residues and machinery space bilge water were illegally dumped from the Sea Faith directly into the ocean while the vessel was transiting to Corpus Christi, TX, without the use of required pollution prevention equipment. They also admitted that these discharges were not recorded in the vessel’s Oil Record Book as required.

Specifically, on five different occasions between March 10, 2017, and March 18, 2017, Fajardo ordered crew members to illegally discharge oily waste from various locations of the vessel’s cargo/deck spaces. These oily waste discharges bypassed the use of the vessel’s required oil discharge monitoring equipment and were done while the vessel was in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

The parties further admitted that on March 10, 2017, and March 15, 2017, Fajardo ordered crew members to throw plastics, empty steel drums, oily rags, batteries, and empty paint cans directly overboard into the ocean. None of these garbage discharges were recorded as required in the vessel’s Garbage Record Book.