A German shipping firm has been fined and placed on probation for three years for intentionally discharging 4,500 gallons of oily bilge water into the ocean south of the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska.
The office of US Attorney for the District of Alaska Karen Loeffler on May 26 identified the vessel as the M/V City of Tokyo, owned by AML Ship Management GMBH. The 603-foot vessel operates under the flag of the Republic of Liberia.
AML Ship Management GMBH is Abou Merhi Lines’ core provider of technical and crew management services, with operation centers in Lebanon and Hamburg. The firm is unrelated to Alaska Marine Lines, a marine transportation company which is part of the Lynden family of businesses and that provides barge service to and from Alaska and Hawaii.
The incident occurred on or about Aug. 29, 2014 in the exclusive economic zone, approximately 165 nautical miles south of the Aleutians, at Sanak Island.
The M/V City of Tokyo was initially inspected and detained in Portland, Oregon by Coast Guard marine inspectors.
AML and Chief Engineer Nicolas Sassin were charged in separate cases filed in both the District of Alaska and District of Oregon. The Oregon charges against AML were transferred to Alaska, and the Alaska charges against Sassin were transferred to Oregon. None of the charges were dismissed.
AML admitted that while the M/V City of Tokyo was in that area that Sassin used an illegal pump system to knowingly discharge the oil bilge water directly overboard. Sassin was sentenced last week in Oregon to five months of home confinement followed by five years of probation for his role in the offenses.
Loeffler’s office said that the criminal fine, environmental compliance plan, community service payment and probationary conditions are all appropriate sanctions and remedies and hopefully will serve to prevent future crimes.