Chief Engineer Gets Six Month Stretch For Porky Pies

 MARPOL, Pollution  Comments Off on Chief Engineer Gets Six Month Stretch For Porky Pies
Jun 202011
Dimitrios Grifakis, 57, of Kallithea, Greece, has been sentenced six months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for obstructing a Coast Guard inspection that took place in May 2010 aboard a Liberian-operated cargo ship M/V Capitola at the Port of Baltimore.    Grifakis was then the chief engineer of the Capitola.

In a related case, Cardiff Marine Inc., the Liberian-registered shipping company and operator of the Capitola previously pleaded guilty to obstructing a Coast Guard examination and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the US implementation of MARPOL. The company was sentenced in February 2011 to pay a $2.4 million fine, and to serve three years probation, subject to an environmental compliance plan that includes audits by an independent third party auditor.

According to Grifakis’ guilty plea and other court documents, the investigation into the M/V Capitola was launched on 3 May, 2010, at the Port of Baltimore, after a crew member informed a clergy member, who was on board the Capitola on a pastoral visit, that there had been “monkey business in the engine room,” which involved a “magic pipe.” The “magic pipe” proved to be a bypass hose that allowed the dumping of waste oil overboard, circumventing pollution prevention equipment required by law. The crew member asked the minister to alert the Coast Guard which triggered an inspection of the Capitola. Continue reading »

Jamaica Gets Tough On Cleaner Caribbean

 MARPOL, Pollution  Comments Off on Jamaica Gets Tough On Cleaner Caribbean
May 282011

From now on ships trading in the Caribbean, including pleasure crafts, are prohibited from discharging any ship-generated garbage. Photo: Project Kansei

Jamaica’s Maritime Authority is set to get tough on pollution as new measures come into force to combat pollution in the Caribbean Sea.

On May 1, 2011 the Caribbean Sea became a Special Area for the prevention of pollution by garbage generated from ships in accordance with the provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1978 as amended , commonly known as the MARPOL Convention. MAJ Director of Legal Affairs, Bertrand Smith, welcomed the move saying: “The designation marks a significant milestone for the protection of the marine environment of Jamaica and the Wider Caribbean Region.”

From now on ships trading in the Caribbean, including pleasure crafts, are prohibited from discharging any ship-generated garbage – including plastics, paper products, rags, glass, metals, crockery, dunnage and packing materials – into the sea. Jamaica, along with the other Caribbean countries, is able to enforce stricter standards on ships calling at its ports and marinas or when they are transiting Jamaican territorial waters. Continue reading »

Risks and regulations of ship to ship transfer ops seminar

 maritime safety, MARPOL, Pollution  Comments Off on Risks and regulations of ship to ship transfer ops seminar
Feb 222011

UK P&I Club and UK Defence Club are hosting a seminar on Ship to Ship Transfer Operations (STS) in conjunction with and FenderCare on the 3rd March at the Piraeus Marine Club.

A growing trend in collision incidents in maritime areas allowing STS transfers has highlighted some of the complexities of liability and contractual arrangements associated with this practice as well as the potential for serious pollution or personal injury claims.

This seminar is particularly topical as amendments to MARPOL Annex I for the prevention of marine pollution during some ship-to-ship oil transfer operations entered into force on 1st January 2011.

The new chapter 8 on ‘Prevention of pollution during transfer of oil cargo between oil tankers at sea’ applies to oil tankers of 150 gross tons and above. Its provisions include a requirement that any oil tanker involved in oil cargo STS operations have on board a plan describing how to conduct STS operations (the STS Plan) which has been approved by its flag state administration, or a classification society on its behalf.

The seminar programme will address the new IMO regulations and the necessary preparations to ensure ships, their equipment, crews and chosen docking master are appropriate. Practical insights into the actual STS operation will be provided by a qualified docking master.

The UK P&I and Defence Clubs’ speaker will present on the liability and charterparty issues that may ensue from an STS incident by way of a case study.

The social reception that follows the seminar provides an opportunity for those attending to discuss points of interest with the speakers and other representatives of the companies involved.

If you wish to attend this seminar, please contact Ms Marinella Makarona at the Thomas Miller Hellas office in Piraeus either by telephone (+30 210 458 5218) or email (

Could Marpol Whistleblowers Be Your Best Watchdogs?

 MARPOL, Pollution  Comments Off on Could Marpol Whistleblowers Be Your Best Watchdogs?
Sep 262010

Recently a frisson of excitement quivered its way through the industry as an American court found a ship’s master not guilty of using the notorious magic pipes to illicitly discharge oil. Dark tales, probably true, were told of barrack-room lawyers coaching Filipino seafarers in Singapore on the money they could make as whistleblowers and how to fake evidence of magic pipes. The industry may have only itself to blame.

To get things into perspective, a whistleblower does not really count for much. An accurate Oil Record Book will count for more. Oil Record Books are quite complicated instruments that must match with oil products on board. Evidence has to add up. If there are identifiable holes in ORB records, then that is evidence enough. Evidence of magic pipes hardens the case, but are not the case by themselves.

The evidence for false whistleblowing on any significant scale is actually slim. Nobody has ever been found guilty on whistleblower testimony alone. Over a large number of cases, two have been thrown out because of alleged false whistleblowing, one of which was abandoned because the whistleblower was found to have child pornography on the cellphone on which he claimed to have photos of illicit oil discharge.

It would be unwise to simply dismiss whistleblowers as using the system to take revenge on perceived slights and to make money – the financial rewards may be attractive but the personal cost to the whistleblower can be enormous.

By whistleblowing they lose respect of their peers and their superiors and their fellow seafarers. For Filipinos that is an intensely difficult position.

It’s worth noting that the reward offered is only payable if there is a successful prosecution.

Reducing the threat from a whistleblower has much to do with attitude, especially attitudes within the industry towards seafarers generally and, at another level, the attitude of ships’ officers toward those they command.

For too long, and too widely, seafarers have been treated as a disposable commodity. For the most part they are hired by manning agencies to work on ships that are managed by another company on behalf of the shipowner.

At best their loyalties are divided and probably strongest to whoever directly pays their salary.

Many seafarers are hired on a single contract with no guarantees of long term employment. Not surprisingly their commitment is short term and based on “what’s in it for me?” So if the opportunity arises to make some big money from a big corporation that does not treat you decently then, not surprisingly, whistleblowing can be a way out and a way up.

Companies should not expect loyalty from seafarers until they demonstrate long term commitment to their employees – obvious really.

You’ll get loyalty from people you treat with respect and if you put systems in place to ensure that crews are treated with respect.

One way of showing that is to have a system through which seafarers can report their concerns in confidence without putting their jobs or shipboard relationships at risk, and by making it very clear on a fleet-wide basis that breaches of Marpol are not acceptable and will be firmly dealt with.

Then the seafarer becomes the watchdog you need to enforce compliance.

In a recent case it was found that a company had rehired an engineer who had already committed Marpol violations. He then proceeded to commit further offences. No monitoring was put in place to make re-offending difficult. It is self-evident, and clearly evident to crew, that Marpol violations are acceptable on the company’s ships.

It would have been pointless reporting the engineer’s activities to the company management in such circumstances, which left the US Coast Guard as the only alternative.

Apart from that, social attitudes to environmental protection have changed significantly and it is unwise to assume that seafarers are unaffected by that change. The majority of seafarers come from countries classed as “developing economies” where environmental protection is a low priority when measured against daily needs for survival. They see first hand the deterioration of the environment around their homes but are powerless to do anything due to the enormous power gap between them and the local governing authorities. Consequently they have high expectations that the foreign owner of the ship they work in will live up to the standards so frequently espoused by corporations based in developed economies. In some cases it is more than just the money, it is being able to do something to stop the pollution.

Simply put, they want to do the right thing.

There is a number of defences against false whistleblowers: First make a commitment to your seafarers to ensure that they receive proper training and understand the how and the why of compliance with Marpol.

Second, reward them for supporting and complying with company environmental policies and procedures.

Third, have in place a system by which your seafarers can tip you off and actively investigate those tip-offs that suggest non-compliance.

Fourth, provide seafarers employed in your company with a career path and a system to manage competency that will guide and monitor their development.

Take care of their professional and personal needs and they will take care of your company.

Georgian CE Gets Probation For Pollution

 MARPOL, oil, oil pollution  Comments Off on Georgian CE Gets Probation For Pollution
Aug 232010

imageRALEIGH – United States Attorney George E B  Holding has announced that in federal court United States District Judge James C Dever III, sentenced VAJA SIKHARULIDZE, a citizen of Georgia, to one-year probation to include seven days of home detention, which reflected a sentence reduction based upon his substantial cooperation in the investigation.

A Criminal Information was filed on April 23, 2010. SIKHARULIDZE pled guilty on May 3, 2010 to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, APPS, in violation of Title 33, United States Code, Sections 1901, et. seq.

Continue reading »

Engineer May Get Six Of The Worst For Dumping Oil

 MARPOL, Pollution  Comments Off on Engineer May Get Six Of The Worst For Dumping Oil
Aug 042010

imageYavuz Mogultay, 31, Turkish has pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Mark A Pizzo to a one-count Information charging him with knowingly failing to fully  and accurately to maintain an Oil Record Book as required by international treaty and United States law. Mogultay faces a maximum sentence of six years in federal prison.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

Mogultay served as the Second Assistant Engineer onboard the cargo ship M/V Avenue Star. According to the Information, Mogultay used bypass hoses to sort-cut the vessel’s pollution prevention equipment and discharge oily waste from the engine room.

Continue reading »

Ship Management $4 Million Hit for Concealment

 MARPOL, Pollution  Comments Off on Ship Management $4 Million Hit for Concealment
Jul 212010

image WASHINGTON – Irika Shipping S.A., a ship management corporation registered in Panama and doing business in Greece, pleaded guilty on 8 July, 2010 , before Maryland US District Court Judge Frederick J. Motz, to felony obstruction of justice charges and violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships related to concealing deliberate vessel pollution from the M/V Iorana , a Greek flagged cargo ship that made port calls in Baltimore, Tacoma, Wash., and New Orleans. Continue reading »

Jul 182010

When accidents happen, SOPEP is your friend says the fifth, and last, episode of Take 5 News Marpol reports available in the Premium library.

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New Take 5 Video – Oily Water Separators – Available

 MARPOL, oil, oil pollution, oil spill  Comments Off on New Take 5 Video – Oily Water Separators – Available
Jun 202010

In this fourth edition of Take 5 News the Take 5 Team looks at oily water separators and why keeping them in good nick can keep you out of nick.

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