A federal court in Alabama has sentenced an Italian shipping company and the chief engineer of one of its ships for deliberately falsifying records to conceal discharges of oily wastewater from the ship into the sea. United States v. Giuseppe Bottiglieri Shipping Co., No. 12-57 (S.D. Ala. 8/15/12). Bottiglieri Shipping Co. S.P.A. was sentenced to pay a $1-million criminal fine, serve four years of probation and make a $300,000 community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The company must also fund and implement a comprehensive environmental compliance plan. The chief engineer was sentenced to one month in jail.
Court records show that the company and its chief engineer pleaded guilty in July 2012 to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by discharging oily bilge waste from the Bottiglieri Challenge on multiple occasions as the vessel sailed from Singapore to Brazil and then from Brazil to Mobile, Alabama. The deliberate overboard discharges were accomplished through the use of a “magic pipe” that connected the ship’s purifier sludge tank with the ship’s bilge holding tank, the contents of which were then pumped overboard without first being processed through required pollution prevention control equipment. See DOJ Press Release, August 15, 2012.