Barge Owner Pleads Guilty – Failed To Act On Leaks

 accident reporting, barge, oil pollution, oil spill  Comments Off on Barge Owner Pleads Guilty – Failed To Act On Leaks
Jul 202012

Bret A. Simpson, the owner of Principle Metals, LLC, has pleaded guilty in US District Court in Tacoma to two criminal violations of the Clean Water Act; failing to report a discharge of oil, and unlawfully discharging oil into the Columbia River near Camas, Washington. The failure to report offense is punishable by up to five years in prison, while the unlawful discharge offense is punishable by up to one year in prison.

Simpson admits that he was informed about oil left on the barge Davy Crockett while conducting salvage operations. However, Simpson failed to have the oil removed before workers started cutting up the metal barge. When the first oil spill occurred in early December 2010, Simpson failed to notify authorities and failed to take any affirmative steps to monitor the vessel or protect it from natural forces and further structural damage.

Subsequent spills in January 2011 led U.S. Coast Guard investigators to identify the Davy Crockett as the source and initiate a federally funded cleanup effort. Ultimately the US Coast Guard spent eight months and about $20 million working with environmental authorities to clean up the spill and remove the derelict barge from the river. Continue reading »

Agencies Tackle Jireh Barge Spill

 Accident, grounding, oil pollution  Comments Off on Agencies Tackle Jireh Barge Spill
Jul 132012

A Resolve Marine Group, Inc. diver wearing a hazardous material dive suit surveys a cargo compartment filled with oiled cargo aboard the 202-foot grounded freighter Jireh July 6, 2012 in Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Response contractors have removed approximately 4,050 gallons of diesel and oil water mixture since reponse efforts began June 21, 2012.

US Coast Guard, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, DRNA, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (EQB), and various other federal, state and local response personnel continue oil removal operations Tuesday aboard the grounded 202-foot freigher Jireh on the southern coast of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

Resolve Marine Group Inc., the Oil Spill Removal Organization for the response, removed an additional 1,775 gallons of diesel fuel from previously inaccessible fuel tanks aboard the Jireh.

“We are making progress and ensuring that all the fuel is being properly removed from the Jireh without impacting the environment,” said Cmdr. David Berliner, Coast Guard Incident Commander for the Response.  “The barge needed to finalize oiled cargo removal and fuel offload operations is expected to arrive to Mona Island between Thursday and Friday.”

Since response operations began June 21, approximately 4,050 gallons of diesel fuel and oil water mixture have been removed from the grounded freighter.   Continue reading »

What’s A Ship? Asks IOPC

 oil, oil pollution, oil spill, oil tanker  Comments Off on What’s A Ship? Asks IOPC
Nov 122011

The end of Erika, twelve years to reach a conclusion

At an assembly of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds held on 24-28 October 2011, the IOPC decided to establish a working group under the chairmanship of Denmark to have a closer look at what ships are covered by the right to be compensated for oil pollution damage.

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds, IOPC Funds, consists of three intergovernmental organisations – the 1971 Fund, the 1992 Fund and the Supplementary Fund – which provide compensation for oil pollution damage resulting from spills of persistent oil from tankers.

The working group, which is chaired by Deputy Director-General Birgit Sølling Olsen, is to examine the various interpretations of what ships are covered by the Funds conventions. On this basis, the working group is to look into what consequences the various interpretations have for the compensation coverage and the obligation to contribute to the Fund since only ships defined as “ships” under the conventions can receive compensation. It is expected that the first working group meeting will be held in connection with the next meeting of the IOPC Fund in April 2012.
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Miami Co. Charged With Vice On River

 crime, oil pollution, Pollution  Comments Off on Miami Co. Charged With Vice On River
May 302011

handcuffsCriminal charges have been filed against Americas Marine Management Services, Inc with pollution on the Miami River. If found guilty the firm could face $500,000 in fines and five years probation.

The formal announcement says: “Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, Commander, 7th Coast Guard District, and John Sall, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, announced the filing of a criminal Information charging defendant Americas Marine Management Services, Inc., d/b/a Antillean Marine, a Miami corporation, with one count of oil pollution, in violation of Title 33, United States Code, Section 1908(a); one count of failure to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book, in violation of Title 33, United States Code, Section 1908(a); and one count of failing to submit reports to the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse, in violation of Title 16, United States Code, Section 4711(g)(2). If convicted, the defendant corporation faces a fine of up to $500,000 per count and up to five years of probation.

According to the allegations in the Information, Americas Marine Management Services operated the TITAN EXPRESS from a terminal on the Miami River. On or about July 9, 2010, the crew of the TITAN EXPRESS discharged oily waste into U.S. water knowing that its pollution prevention equipment was not working. The crew of the TITAN EXPRESS further kept fictitious records about the management of the ship’s oily waste.

The Information also alleges that Americas Marine Management Services failed to submit a report to the National Ballast Information Clearinghouse in advance of the TITAN EXPRESS’ arrival at the Port of Miami. The National Ballast Information Clearinghouse is a joint program of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the United States Coast Guard. Its mandate is to understand and prevent the introduction of non-indigenous species to the fresh, brackish, and saltwater environments of the United States.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Services. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Raich.

An Information is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

PSA Calls To Arms Against Leaks and Well Incidents

 Accident, offshore, Offshore, oil, oil pollution, oil spill  Comments Off on PSA Calls To Arms Against Leaks and Well Incidents
Apr 052011

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has asked the industry to propose specific measures for reducing the number of hydrocarbon leaks and well control incidents on the Norwegian continental shelf.

A very positive trend in the number of hydrocarbon leaks larger than 0.1 kilograms per second was experienced off Norway from 2002 to 2007.

The industry’s goal of reducing the number of leaks of this type to a maximum of 10 per year by 2008 was achieved as early as 2007.

Over the past three years, however, this positive development has unfortunately ceased. The figure rose to 14 in 2008 and 15 in 2009, before returning to 14 last year. Continue reading »

Operating Blind in Deepwater

 explosion, fire, offshore, oil pollution  Comments Off on Operating Blind in Deepwater
Oct 292010

Joint Investigation - Why did it happen?

Bill Campbell, retired Shell International Health and Safety Group auditor, is a controversial commentator on the Deepwater Horizon. He has been following the on-going Joint Investigation into how such a tragedy could happen on one of the most sophisticated rigs in the world and a highly experienced and expert crew.

Only minutes before the blowout on Deepwater Horizon on 20th April everything was reported as being in order. The negative pressure test of the integrity of the well had been good and the displacement of seawater after this test was going fine.

But just 25 minutes after this reassuring message was passed to the senior toolpusher, mud started to overflow from the well onto the drill floor. With only seconds to act and do the right thing mistakes were made which allowed gas to be ingested into areas of the rig where sources of ignition were present. Actions that could have been taken to prevent the ignition of the gas were not taken and four minutes after the blowout commenced most of the crew, on or near the drill floor, were killed in the first explosion.

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Prestige judgement “Flawed – ECHR has badly let down seafarers”

 maritime safety, oil pollution, oil spill, oil tanker, Pollution  Comments Off on Prestige judgement “Flawed – ECHR has badly let down seafarers”
Oct 172010

imagePrestige appears to be something that the European Court of Human Rights, ECHR, has a problem earning. Its evident support for Spanish practices in the harassment of seafarers, in particular Captain Apostolos Mangouras of Prestige ill-fame is sufficiently irrational for the International and European Transport Workers Federations to send off a broadside at the weekend calling the ECHr’s decision”deeply flawed”.

In 2002, as Mangouras fought bravely to save his ship from disaster, French and Spanish authorities decided that it was better for the ship to break in two in rough weather and pollute their beaches that allow the vessel a safe haven. It was, at the very least, a decision of outrageous inhumanity. Spain got its polluted beaches, an inevitable and foreseeable result of its decision, and promptly arrested Mangouras.

Mangouras, now well into his late 60s, has yet to be tied before Spain’s criminal courts but was only released from detention in return for a blazingly irrational $4m bail and house arrest in Greece.

At least they stopped short of having him renditioned to Quantanamo Bay.

The ITF/ETC announcement captured some of the Kafka-esque flavour of Captain Mangouras’s situation:

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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.

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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.

Find out more here.