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Paccship fined for pollution

London: Paccship UK, which operates 10 vessels trading between Asia and the US, has been fined $1.7m by the US Justice Department for offences relating to improper transfers and discharges of oil-contaminated waste from two of its ships, writes Maritime Global Net. Paccship pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and for using falsified records that concealed improper transfers and discharges of oil-contaminated waste. The company was also sentenced to serve a four-year term of probation during which it must implement and follow a stringent environmental compliance program that includes a court-appointed monitor and outside independent auditing of its ships. Additionally, the company will hand over a $400,000 community service payment.

The government's investigation began on April 11, 2006, when inspectors from the US Coast Guard boarded the Paccship operated and managed vesselPAC Antares, following the ship's arrival in Morehead City, N.C. The inspection uncovered evidence that crew members aboard the ship had improperly handled and disposed of the ship's oil-contaminated waste and falsified entries in the ship's official Oil Record Book to conceal these activities. During the inspection, crew members are also said to have strayed from the facts when relating them to the Coast Guard inspectors in an attempt to obstruct the investigation. In November 2006 similar evidence was found on another ship operated by the same company, the PAC Altair.

The PAC Antares' second engineer pleaded guilty on 7 May last year to making and causing the making of materially false statements in the ship's Oil Record Book relating to management of oil-contaminated waste aboard the ship.

"Paccship pleaded guilty and was sentenced today for its obstruction and deceit," said assistant attorney general Ronald Tenpas. "This prosecution is part of an ongoing effort to detect, deter, and prosecute those who illegally discharge pollutants from ships into the ocean and those who lie about such activities."  [11/04/08]

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