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Norwegian Shipping Company to Pay $3.5 Million Fine
Release Date: 03/24/2004
Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 / email@example.com
(03/24/04) Hoegh Fleet Services, a Norwegian operator of ocean-going cargo ships, pled guilty on March 17 to seven felony counts of violating federal laws including keeping a falsified Oil Record book, obstructing justice and making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard. Under the agreement, Hoegh must pay $3.5 million in penalties, develop a comprehensive environmental plan for its forty ships that visit U.S. waters, and serve four years probation. According to court documents, the case began in September 2003 when a whistle blower from the crew of the vessel Hoegh Minerva informed authorities that crew members had allegedly used a bypass pipe to route waste oil around the oil-water separator in the ship’s pollution control system. Investigators later uncovered evidence indicating that the ship’s Oil Record Book contained false entries. Not following pollution control procedures results in oily bilge waste being dumped into the ocean, which can harm fish and other aquatic life. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland Area Offices of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Los Angeles and Portland Offices of U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.