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Connecticut Based Shipping Company Pleads Guilty to Cover-Up of Discharge of Oil and Sludge into Ocean

Release Date: 01/29/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(01/29/04) OMI Corp., a Connecticut-based shipping company, pled guilty on Jan. 21 to preparing false documents to cover up the illegal dumping of thousands of gallons of waste oil and sludge at sea. As part of its plea, OMI agreed to pay a $4.2 million fine and serve three years of probation. In its plea, OMI admitted that from around May to September, 2001, the Chief Engineer of the OMI-operated ship Guadalupe falsified entries in the ship’s Oil Record Book, a book that records the handling of oil in a ship’s engine room and indicates whether waste oil and sludge have been properly managed. The ship’s Captain also participated in the cover-up. The false entries were made because the Chief Engineer had constructed a bypass around the ship’s oil-water separator, a pollution control device that prevents waste oil and sludge from being discharged. As a result, large quantities of waste oil and oily sludge were discharged into the ocean, placing fish and other aquatic life at risk. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, the New York Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey in Newark and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.