Puerto Rican shipping company fined
The U.S. Justice Department said Epps Shipping Co., a Liberian corporation doing business out of Carolina, Puerto Rico, was sentenced in federal court for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and making false statements to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors.
The company was sentenced to pay a $700,000 criminal penalty to include a $100,000 payment towards community service projects to rehabilitate and protect coral reefs in Guanica Bay, Puerto Rico.
In addition, the company was placed on five years of supervised probation and will have to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan to continuously monitor and evaluate pollution prevention from any ship it owns or operates.
The Justice Department said Epps owned and controlled the Carib Vision, a commercial ship that was engaged in the transportation of molasses throughout the Caribbean.
On Nov. 6, 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard conducted an inspection of the vessel in the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard learned from inspecting the engine room and interviewing crewmembers that the vessel's oil water separator and other pollution prevention equipment was inoperable and could not be used to treat the vessel's oily waste prior to it being discharged overboard. The investigation revealed that prior to Nov. 6, 2010, the crew of the vessel used the emergency bilge discharge system to dump its oily waste directly overboard without first processing it through the ship's pollution prevention equipment as required. None of the overboard discharges of oil or oily bilge wastewater were recorded in the Carib Vision's oil record book, as required.