Jordaanian shipping firm pleads guilty in ‘magic pipe’ case

Jordan-based Arab Ship Management has pleaded guilty in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, United States of America, to one count of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships stemming from a so-called ‘magic pipe’ incident onboard one of their livestock carriers.

According to court documents and statements made in court, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors at the Delaware Bay Big Stone Anchorage in March 2013 discovered that the crew of the 6,398 gross ton ocean-going livestock carrier, MV Neameh, had modified the vessel’s piping arrangement in way that allowed oil sludge to be pumped directly overboard, bypassing the vessel’s pollution prevention equipment. This prohibited piping arrangement, i.e. ‘magic pipe’, was removed prior to the vessel’s arrival in Delaware, according to the investigation.

Also during the inspection, Coast Guard officers were presented with two oil record books containing different and contradictory entries for the time period of November 30, 2011, through January 2, 2012, as well as fake oily waste disposal receipts.

Subsequently, Arab Ship Management Ltd., which operates the MV Neameh, was sentenced to pay a criminal penalty totaling $500,000 and be placed on probation for two years, during which time ships operated by the company will be banned from calling on ports of the United States.

“The defendant violated environmental laws that protect our marine environment from harmful pollution,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware Charles M. Oberly III.

“This conviction ensures that the defendant is held accountable with a criminal fine and a contribution to conservation efforts in coastal Delaware, as well as a two-year ban from United States ports. The message to the shipping industry is clear: environmental crimes at sea will not be tolerated,” he stated.

“This case demonstrates one way the Coast Guard acts to protect the environment. Marine Inspectors detected serious problems with the ship’s operations. They dove into the details and worked with the Department of Justice and the Coast Guard Investigative Service to bring this case to an appropriate resolution,” said Captain Kathy Moore, U.S. Coast Guard Commander of Sector Delaware Bay.

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