Specifically, the company Misuga Kaiun Co. Ltd. (MISUGA) failed to accurately maintain an oil record book that covered up discharges of oily water from the Motor Vessel (M/V) Diamond Queen. MISUGA was sentenced to pay a fine of $1.5 million, placed on probation for a period of four years, and ordered to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan as a special condition of probation.
In pleading guilty, MISUGA stated that the chief engineer onboard the M/V Diamond Queen, a 34,800 gross-ton, 656-foot ocean-going commercial bulk carrier, knowingly failed to record the overboard discharge of oily bilge water without the use of required pollution-prevention equipment.
Moreover, the discharges occurred on multiple occasions, from approximately April 2019 until the vessel arrived in Port Canaveral, Florida, on May 22, 2020. The chief engineer also pleaded guilty to falsifying the oil record book, and was sentenced to one year of probation.
According to the plea agreement, MISUGA operated the M/V Diamond Queen. Prior to the ship’s arrival in Port Canaveral on May 22, a junior crewmember informed the U.S. Coast Guard that he had information about illegal discharges that had taken place on the vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched Port State Control Examiners to conduct an inspection of the vessel. Examiners discovered evidence of the system that was used to discharge oily water from the vessel in order to bypass the vessel’s oily water separator.
U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez for the Middle District of Florida commented that
Our oceans and waterways are essential to the health and balance of the world’s ecosystem. Those who act with reckless disregard for the safety of our environment by willfully polluting or contaminating it put everyone at risk, and will be held accountable for their actions.