Italian shipping firm Carbofin S.p.A. that owned and operated the M/T Marigola was sentenced to pay an overall criminal penalty of USD 2.75 million by a Florida District Court for knowingly falsifying the vessel’s oil record book in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS).
Out of the USD 2.75 million fine, USD 600,000 will be paid to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for the benefit of Florida’s only national marine sanctuary: the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
As informed by the US Justice Department, the funds are to be used to support the protection and preservation of natural resources located in and adjacent to the sanctuary, including the cleanup and remediation of pollution in the sanctuary; restoration of injured resources, particularly coral reefs and seagrass beds and species dependent on those habitats. The funds will also be channeled to support scientific research in, and public education about, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
During 2013 and 2014, on numerous international voyages, senior members of the crew of the M/T Marigola directed the installation and use of a so-called “magic hose” to dispose of sludge, waste oil and oil-contaminated bilge water directly into the sea bypassing required pollution prevention equipment.
On April 16, 2014, the vessel called upon the Port of Tampa to load anhydrous ammonia. Coast Guard inspectors boarded the vessel and were approached by two junior engineering crew members who showed the inspectors a video of the “magic pipe” hooked up between piping leading to the bilge tank and the vessel’s boiler blow down valve.
The boiler blow down valve is a discharge point for the boiler to release hot water and steam. The inspectors had the valve removed and an oily black substance was discovered. Oil samples taken from the “magic hose,” the bilge piping and the boiler blow down valve matched.
The Chief Engineer, Carmelo Giano, and the Second Engineer, Alessandro Messore, had previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced for their role in ordering the use of the “magic hose” to illegally discharge oily waste into the sea.
“We are extremely grateful to the U.S. Department of Justice in supporting the work of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation on behalf of the nation’s marine sanctuaries, including here at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary,” said President and CEO Jason Patlis of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that the oil record book for the M/T Marigolawas falsified since at least June 16, 2013. The investigation also revealed that illegal oily waste discharges had occurred from two other vessels owned and operated by Carbofin, the M/T’s Marolaand Solaro.
On the M/T Marola, a “magic hose” was used between on or about December 2012 and April 2013 and on the M/T Solaro between on or about February to August 2013.
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