Shipping Company Sentenced for Second Environmental Offense


Published Jun 4, 2015 6:56 PM by Kathryn Stone

A German shipping company has been ordered to pay $750,000 in fines and community service payments for a second oily water discharge offense.

Herm. Dauelsberg GmbH and Co. KG, of Germany was already on criminal probation for a 2013 case related to environmental violations aboard the M/V Bellavia off of California.  A U.S. District Court has ordered the company to serve an additional 3 years’ probation for the latest infractions.

In January of this year a corroded bulk head aboard the Liberian-flagged M/V Lindavia, caused around 36,000 gallons of heavy fuel to leak into the ship’s hold. The cargo vessel was sent on to South Korea for cleaning, but not all the fuel was recovered.

For several days beginning Jan-31 the crew of the Lindavia pumped 1,430 gallons of oily water from the hold into 55 gallon drums on the upper deck. From there, crew members dumped the waste into the Bering Sea.

On February 11 the crew disposed of an additional 350 gallons of the oil water about 100 miles off the coast of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Coast Guard inspectors came aboard the Lindavia after the captain reported damage to navigational lights and a radar system. The inspectors become aware of the environmental crimes and ordered that the ship be detained in Dutch Harbor.

Following the June 3 judgement, the company must create an ‘environmental compliance plan’, which includes ship wide protocols for the company’s seven vessels operating in U.S. waters. Ships owned by the German company will also be subject to warrantless searches if there is suspicion a vessel has violated the law.

Wednesday’s judgement is the second passed down Alaska Federal Court in a ten day period. Another German company, AML Ship Management GMBH, was sentenced to pay $800,000 May 26 for discharging over 4,500 gallons of oily water.

The prosecutor for the two recent cases, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Feldis, has noted that oil pollution continues to be a worldwide problem even in 2015. In a written statement Feldis said, “there is no excuse for this conduct. Companies that seek to profit from transporting cargo across the world’s oceans have a responsibility to likewise invest in following the law.”