A federal grand jury in Texas has reportedly returned an indictment against a Hong Kong-based shipping company in connection with the illegal dumping of oil wastewater, obstruction of agency proceedings, making false statements, and failing to maintain accurate pollution-control records. The charges resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard after a crew member on the MV Lowlands Sumida told inspectors that the ship had been rigged to dump its waste oil and conceal evidence. The ship’s crew allegedly used a “dummy” sounding tube that would fool inspectors into thinking the waste oil tank was empty and a fake logbook to corroborate the falsehood.
Under the Act to Prevent Pollution from ships, the ship’s owner faces a potential $3 million fine. See Law360, April 30, 2010.