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Shipping Company Pleads Guilty to Dumping Oily Wastewater at Sea

Release Date: 04/14/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

04/14/04 - MMS Co., Ltd, a Japanese company that manages the vessel, Spring Drake, pled guilty on April 5 to four felony charges connected to the dumping of oily wastewater at sea. The case was simultaneously filed in courts in Portland, Ore., San Francisco, Calif., and Los Angeles, Calif.; and the plea was entered in Portland where the ship was boarded. MMS will pay a $2 million fine and must establish an environmental compliance program. In a separate proceeding, Shashank Pendse, the Spring Drake’s Chief Engineer, pled guilty to falsifying the ship’s oil record book. In Aug. 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard inspected the Spring Drake, which was docked in Portland to load grain, and found evidence of failure to comply with environmental regulations. Charges were then filed against MMS stating that the ship dumped oil and oily sludge at sea through a pipe that bypassed the ship’s pollution control equipment. The release of oil at sea can harm fish and wildlife. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Office in Portland, the Coast Guard Investigative Service, and EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from the Washington Department of Ecology. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles.