Greek Shipping Company Fined $1 Million Fine in Oil Pollution Case

Karlog Shipping Company Ltd. of Piraeus, Greece, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for concealing the release of oil into the ocean from its 'M/V Friendship.'

Karlog Shipping was ordered to pay a $1 million fine, develop a fleet-wide court-monitored environmental management system and serve three years' probation. In addition, Panagiotis Kokkinos, the ship's chief engineer, and Athanasios Chalkias, the ship's fitter, have also each pleaded guilty in connection with their role in ordering crew members to make false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard regarding discharges of oil from the ship. Each man was sentenced to 30 days in prison and three years' probation.

In November 2004, a routine U.S. Coast Guard investigation discovered evidence that a bypass pipe had been used on the 'M/V Friendship' to route oil around the ship's oil-water separator. Evidence also indicated that the pollution was concealed by maintaining a false oil record book that made it appear that the ship was being operated properly.

Discharging oil into the ocean can harm fish and other aquatic species. The case was initiated by U.S. Coast Guard Marine Inspectors and Marine Investigators from New York Sector. The investigated was completed by the U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service and the New York Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division.