Japanese shipping company fined in US court for concealing illegal discharges of oily water

Diamond Queen (Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Freud Freud)

Misuga Kaiun, a Japanese-based company engaged in international shipping, has been sentenced in federal court before US District Court Judge Paul G. Byron in Orlando, Florida.

The company has pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to accurately maintain an oil record book that covered up discharges of oily water from the bulk carrier Diamond Queen.

Misuga was sentenced to pay a fine of US$1.5 million, placed on probation for a period of four years, and ordered to implement a comprehensive environmental compliance plan as a special condition of probation.

In pleading guilty, Misuga admitted that the chief engineer on board Diamond Queen knowingly failed to record the overboard discharge of oily bilge water without the use of required pollution-prevention equipment.

The discharges occurred on multiple occasions, from approximately April 2019 until the vessel arrived in Port Canaveral, Florida, on May 22, 2020.

The chief engineer, Mr Cloyd Dimapilis, also pleaded guilty to falsifying the oil record book, and was sentenced to one year of probation.

According to the plea agreement, Misuga had operated Diamond Queen.

Prior to the ship’s arrival in Port Canaveral on May 22, a junior crewmember informed the US Coast Guard that he had information about illegal discharges that had taken place on the vessel. The coast guard despatched port state control examiners to conduct an inspection of the vessel.

The examiners discovered evidence of the system that was used to discharge oily water from the vessel in order to bypass the vessel’s oily water separator.

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