Two Shipping Companies Fined $1.8M for MARPOL Violations
Chartworld Shipping and Liberian holding company Nederland Shipping Corp. pled guilty this week to two sets of U.S. federal charges - the first for their vessel's failure to notify the U.S. Coast Guard of a leaking hull and the second for presenting false documents that covered up vessel oil pollution.
On Feb. 21, 2019, the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Detachment out of Lewes, Delaware, conducted a PSC inspection of Chartworld's vessel, the Nederland Reefer. During the course of the inspection, the Coast Guard determined that the vessel’s chief engineer, Vasileios Mazarakis, had been repeatedly tricking the oil content monitoring device on the vessel’s oily water separator using fresh water in order to discharge untreated oily bilge water overboard at sea. Mazarakis falsified the vessel’s oil record book to conceal these illegal discharges.
The Coast Guard’s investigation also determined that on December 30, 2018, the vessel’s bilge holding tank sprung a leak below the waterline and began taking on seawater. This was a hazardous condition, but Chartworld and Nederland Shipping failed to report it to the Coast Guard - a serious marine safety violation.
As part of their plea agreement, Chartworld and Nederland Shipping have agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $1.8 million and to serve a four-year probation term with a court-appointed monitor and an independent auditing company.
Earlier this month, Mazarkis pled guilty to violating the U.S. federal implementation of MARPOL for his role in the scheme. He also pled guilty to obstruction charges related to witness tampering and the destruction of evidence.