Calypso Marine, a Greek Shipping Company, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Tacoma earlier this week in connection with illegally dumping oily waste at sea.
The company agreed to pay a $1 million criminal fine as part of the plea agreement, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard.
The illegal dumping practices were discovered in an investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Portland and in Kalama, on the Columbia River.
The shipping line calls at the Port of Portland and does not visit Tacoma.
The ship’s record book indicated that the vessel properly disposed of all oily waste. However Coast Guard inspectors located hidden pipes that allowed the vessel to bypass approved oily waste procedures and pump large quantities of harmful pollution directly into the ocean during overseas transits.
This certainly isn’t the first time a shipping line has been caught using a “mystery pipe” to illegally dispose of waste.
This from the Coast Guard’s news release:
Last year, the United States Attorney prosecuted a similar case on the M/V Irika moored in Vancouver, Wash., at the time of the inspection, which yielded a criminal fine of $750,000. Since 2003, Coast Guard Sector Portland has investigated and provided evidence of criminal dumping which has yielded seven criminal convictions of more than $9 million in criminal fines, and over eleven years of probation for responsible foreign vessel crews.
And from our own archives:
Evergreen International pleaded guilty in April 2005 to several felony and misdemeanor charges for concealing the deliberate and illegal discharge of waste oil and for negligent discharge of oil in the Columbia River, according to the Department of Justice.
The charges were brought in five judicial districts that contained port cities, including Seattle and Portland.
The investigation started in 2001 after 500 gallons of oil spilled into the Columbia River near Kalama. Investigators from the state’s Department of Ecology boarded an Evergreen ship in Tacoma that May and discovered a device – a bypass pipe – used by the ship’s crew to discharge the waste oil.
International and federal laws require that discharge from ships must be treated. Oil can cause significant harm to marine life. At least seven otherEvergreen ships had such devices, the Department of Justice reported.