Justice Department reaches deal with German shipping companies charged with illegal oil dumping

By Mark Iandolo | Mar 20, 2016

PENSACOLA, Fla. (Legal Newsline) — The Justice Department has announced that the German shipping companies Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG and Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG MS “Extum,” who owned and operated the cargo ship M/V BBC Magellan, agreed to pay $1.25 million over allegations of failing to maintain an accurate oil record book.

Operating a marine vessel like the M/V BBC Magellan creates waste oil and oil-contaminated water. Both International and U.S. law mandate that these types of vessels use special equipment to get rid of the waste. If any waste does leak into the ocean, the ship must document it. The defendants allegedly violated both these rules.

“Shipping companies that transport commerce across open seas must respect the international laws and obligations of their trade, which exist to prevent the spoiling of oceans and marine habitat,” Assistant Attorney General Cruden said. “This egregious behavior by shipping companies, which included intentional deception and witness tampering, will not be tolerated. We will continue to prosecute companies and their officers for these crimes.”

In addition to the $1.25 million in fines, the defendants will pay $250,000 in community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. It is also banned for the next five years from doing business in the United States.

“Future generations deserve to enjoy clean and safe coastal waters, and we will continue to prosecute environmental crimes to prevent pollution of our natural resources,” Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Canova for the Northern District of Florida said. “Our federal environmental laws rightfully require companies to record their oil waste disposal to keep them accountable and to protect our oceans and marine life.”

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