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Major International Shipping Company Sentenced for Falsifying Oil Record Book

Release Date: 10/13/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Dave Ryan, 202-564-4355 /

(10/13/05) A.P. Moller-Maersk, A/S, of Denmark, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $500,000 fine on Sept. 26 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Moller-Maersk, which operates a fleet of more than 200 vessels worldwide, was also ordered to develop and implement a fleet-wide environmental compliance program. The investigation began on May 25, 2004, when members of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office discovered waste oil in the overboard piping of the Motor Vessel Jane Maersk during a routine inspection. Further investigation by the Coast Guard and EPA's Criminal Investigation Division also uncovered evidence of false entries in the ship's Oil Record Book. The false entries in the book concerned the operation of the ship's incinerator which, in part, is used to burn waste oil sludge. In a related court action, Johnnie Nielsen of Copenhagen, Denmark, who is the ship's second engineer was sentenced to four months' community confinement for his role in concealing and destroying key documents in anticipation of the Coast Guard inspection of the Jane Maersk. Nielsen further admitted that he had observed engineers on other Moller-Maersk vessels hiding the same key documents prior to pending inspections. Failing to properly maintain an Oil Record Book is a violation of the MARPOL Treaty, which is designed to prevent pollution from vessels that can, among other things, represent a threat to fish and other aquatic life. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the San Francisco Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from the Coast Guard Pacific Judge Advocate General's Office. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco.