Shipping company admits to ocean pollution

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Officials said a Greek shipping company was fined and put on probation after admitting in Louisiana federal court to dumping pollution in the ocean.

According to the Office of the US Attorney - Middle District of Louisiana, Cleopatra Shipping Agency, LTD pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.

US Attorney Don Cazayoux Jr. reported the company was ordered to pay a $300,000 fine and serve a 3-year probation requiring implementation of an environmental compliance program.

A news release from Cazayoux stated the M/V Stellar Wind, an ocean-going bulk carrier managed and operated by Cleopatra, discharged bilge water and other oily waste without using an oily water separator as required by federal and international law.

Investigators said it happened on or about Aug. 13, 2011 through about Aug. 26, 2011 as the ship traveled from Spain to the US.

The chief engineer of the vessel is required to record all discharges, but federal officials said he failed to record those illegal ones. They said he also made false entries to indicate the oily water separator was used when it wasn't.

Authorities said the carrier was inspected by the US Coast Guard when it was moored on the Mississippi River in Ascension Parish. They reported the falsified documents were turned in to officials, but a low-level engine department crew member told a Coast Guard officer about the discharges and the fake records.

US District Judge James Brady ordered $150,000 of the fine be awarded to the crew member who reported the violation.

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