An Italian shipping company admitted in the U.S. to dumping oily waste and other pollutants at sea rather than paying to dispose of them properly, and will pay a $4 million fine.
The charge involved the oil tanker Cielo di Milano that visited ports in New Jersey, Maryland and Florida multiple times in 2014 and 2015.
The Palermo-based company admitted that the ship's crew intentionally discharged bilge water and oily waste from the vessel's engine room into the sea, according to court documents.
It also admitted falsifying and destroying records, and lying to the Coast Guard during inspections.
According to statements made in court, and in court documents, the company admitted the ship’s crew intentionally bypassed required pollution prevention equipment by discharging bilge water and oily waste from the vessel’s engine room through its sewage system into the sea.
Some of the discharges were made within the 200-mile (321-kilometer) territorial limits of the U.S.
One chief engineer falsified the ship's Oil Record Book to state that bilge water had been processed through the vessel's pollution control equipment when, in fact it had not. And the crew routinely hid equipment used to conduct the discharges when the vessel entered port.
The company also admitted that crew members made false statements to the Coast Guard during its inspection of the Cielo di Milano in January 2015; and destroyed a record book after the Coast Guard had boarded the vessel, according to court documents.
Gregory Linsin, a lawyer for the company, said the matter remains under the supervision of the court, adding, "The company will address the issue following the conclusion of the court proceeding."
During its four-year term of probation, the company will be subject to an environmental compliance program that requires outside audits by an independent company and oversight by a court-appointed monitor.
The plea allocates $1 million to projects, to be chosen by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, to clean up marine pollution, preservation of aquatic life, and restore shorelines around Newark Bay.