A federal judge in New Orleans has reportedly sentenced the Louisiana-based ship-operating company Offshore Vessels LLC (OSV) to pay a criminal fine of $1.75 million and remit payment of $350,000 to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. The company will also serve three years of probation during which it will be required to operate under an environmental compliance plan.
OSV pleaded guilty on July 22, 2010, to knowingly discharging waste oil from one of its vessels into ocean waters in Antarctica. The ship, the R/V Gould, was a 2,966-gross ton, American-flagged vessel that served as an ice-breaking research vessel for the National Science Foundation on research voyages to and from Antarctica. Crew members admitted knowingly discharging oily water from the bilge tank of the vessel overboard to the high seas on several occasions. Doing so, they by-passed the ship’s oily-water separator, a pollution-control device required by federal regulations. See DOJ Press Release, November 4, 2010.