Recent court cases in the United States involving environmental pollution from ships highlight the continuing problem of lack of compliance with the US Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
According to a recent news release from the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the foreign owner and operator of a ship have been sentenced to pay a fine of USD 1.3 million and make a community service payment of USD 200,000 for violation of the APPS by not recording the discharge of oily waste water into the ocean. In another case, the foreign owner and operator of a ship pleaded guilty in federal court to violation of the APPS by failing to accurately maintain the ship's oil record book. At sentencing, DOJ will recommend a total criminal penalty of USD 750,000 according to the news release.
BIMCO is committed to assisting its members in ensuring compliance with the rules in force in the US regarding environmental standards and oily water separators, thereby avoiding deliberate discharges of oil-contaminated waste as well as the maintenance of inaccurate oil record books.
To support this development, BIMCO has prepared guidelines and a model declaration on seafarer’s compliance with environmental rules and regulations for members to use, among other things, for ships trading to/from the USA. The model is specifically designed to help shipping companies to ensure that their employees acknowledge and comply with the company’s policy to meet environmental regulations. The guidelines and model declaration can be accessed by using the below link.
BIMCO’s Guide to Maritime Environmental & Efficiency Management, developed in partnership with maritime efficiency specialists Fathom, and supported by ClassNK, provides another resource to facilitate compliance with environmental regulations such as those in the USA and assists owners and operators in the development of an environmental and efficiency management system. The Guide is available to order online from Fathom.
Members are also advised to seek guidance on visiting US ports, and on US port State control inspections generally, in BIMCO’s updated Guide to Port State Control Inspections and in the revised BIMCO guide produced in co-operation with the US Chamber of Shipping regarding the US Vessel General Permit (VGP). Members and their crews are strongly encouraged to familiarise themselves with the content of these pamphlets, which are available for download via the below links.