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US and China reiterate strong position on marine environment rules

The United States and Chinese authorities have shown ship owners that non-compliance of air emissions and effluent requirements will not be taken lightly.

The US Coast Guard and the American Club have said that investigation and prosecution will continue to happen if shipowners are suspected of violating regulations regarding pollution.

This week the United States Attorney’s District of Alaska stated that East West Seafoods has been found guilty of discharging 1,000 gallons of raw sewage into Chiniak Bay, Alaska, as well as discharging oily water within three miles of shore.

The Pacific Producer carried out the violations on more than one occasion in 2013 and 2014.  According to the US Attorney’s District of Alaska, the ship was using an illegal pump system to directly discharge oily bilge water overboard, bypassing the oily water separator and oil content metre.

Not only did the offenders carry out these violations, but they also presented false records to the US Coast Guard when investigated.  In response to this, the US Coast Guard Investigative Service warned that anyone violating the Clean Water Act, the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and the Refuse Act, as this ship did, will be prosecuted, as will those that deceive investigators in the field.

As fathom-news highlighed last week, the Tokyo and Paris MoU lists show that deliberate misuse of oily water separators are a common cause of detentions. An oft cited crime if that ships crews will still try to bypass requirements even though regulations are toughening.

Last week the Maritime Safety Administrations of China found a vessel to be using fuel that contained over 0.5% sulphur at Tianjin Port, China.  The MSAs have penalised the foreign ship for doing so and said that port inspections will be strengthened, while enforcement of Emission Control Area regulations will be done vigorously.

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