MMS Co. Ltd. will pay $2 million dumping fine; engineer jailed
U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman, in Portland, Ore., said MMS Co. Ltd., a Japanese company, has agreed to pay a $2 million, court-ordered fine after one of its ships, the 'Spring Lake,' dumped oily waste at sea.
The fine is the largest paid by a corporation in Oregon for polluting the sea. Mosman also sentenced Shashank Pendse, chief engineer on the Spring Lake, to one month in prison for falsifying the ship’s waste discharge logs.
“It sends a very simple message to other chief engineers that somebody went to jail for this,” Mosman said.
Last August, after the 27,011-ton, Panamanian-flag vessel called at Portland to pick up a load of grain, federal inspectors noted that pipes used to discharge water were oily.
According to federal prosecutors, the log falsely reported that sludge had been burned in the ship’s incinerator and that bilge water had been properly discharged. Instead, the sludge and bilge water were dumped into the ocean, prosecutors said.
Shipping companies often illegally bypass pollution prevention equipment on vessels, said a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Portland.