Ionian Management (IONIAN M) was sentenced on November 1, in the District of the Virgin Islands before U.S. District Court Judge Wilma A. Lewis in St. Croix, after pleading guilty to a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. IONIAN M was sentenced to pay a fine of $250,000 and placed on probation for one year.
While vessels are operating within the U.S. Caribbean Emissions Control Area (ECA), they must not use fuel that exceeds 0.10% sulfur by weight to help protect air quality.
Between January 3, 2017, and July 10, 2018, the M/T Ocean Princess entered and operated within the ECA using fuel that contained excessive sulfur on twenty-six separate occasions. The fuel was petroleum cargo that had been transferred to the fuel tanks as authorized by IONIAN M.
Once authorized, the crew of the M/T Ocean Princess transfered the higher sulfur fuel from the cargo tanks into the bunker tanks and use it to fuel the vessel, even though it exceeded the 0.10% sulfur by weight maximum.
U.S. Coast Guard inspectors boarded the M/T Ocean Princess on July 10, 2018, to conduct an inspection. During the inspection, the U.S. Coast Guard discovered the vessel’s use of fuel with an excessive sulfur content.
The sentence imposed on this commercial vessel manager for intentionally violating environmental laws designed to protect the air quality of the United States sends a strong message that the United States will not tolerate such violations and will hold violators accountable
said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
The M/T Ocean Princess was owned by Lily Shipping Ltd. and operated by Ionian Shipping and Trading, both Greece-domiciled companies. These two companies previously pleaded guilty to felony violations related to the use of non-compliant fuel and falsification of records and were sentenced to pay a combined criminal fine of $3,000,000, serve a three-year period of probation, and implement an Environmental Compliance Plan.
The sentencing of Ionian M is the final chapter in this multi-year investigation and prosecution of the companies and individuals involved in the use of non-compliant, high-sulfur fuel in the operation and management of the M/T Ocean Princess.
The results announced today are the culmination of four years’ worth of unyielding effort to hold accountable those who knowingly violate our federal laws
stated Rear Adm. Brendan C. McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District.
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