Adventure

Ship Owners Fined $1.2M for Oil Dumps

Whistleblower could receive $600K

A U.S. District Court on Wednesday fined the owners of a Maltese-flagged cargo ship $1.2 million for deliberately dumping oil and plastic garbage into the ocean. Ship engineers on the M/V Aquarosa used a variety of methods to clandestinely dump bilge waste, both removing blocking mechanisms and bypassing pollution prevention equipment with a rubber hose. In February 2011, Salvatore Lopez, a ship engineer on the Aquarosa, provided the U.S. Coast Guard with more than 300 photos documenting the discharges. Prosecutors have asked that Lopez be awared half of the fine levied on the owners, or $600,000. The two corporations that own the M/V Aquarosa also face three years of probation, during which they will have to submit to independent reviews by a court-designated auditor. Chief Engineer Andreas Konstantinidis was sentenced to three months in prison in December for obstruction of justice for falsifying oil discharge records.

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