$2m fine for concealing illegal discharges

Cyprus-based shipping company Diana Wilhelmsen Management Ltd was fined $2m last week in a US federal court for concealing illegal discharges of oily water  that were emitted from bulk carrier Protefs (IMO 9286633)in the Atlantic Ocean.

US District Court Judge Rebecca Beach Smith imposed the fine in a Norfolk, Virginia court after the company pleaded guilty to violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships that had occurred on the Protefs. As is the norm in such US cases, the company has also been placed on probation for a period of four years and ordered to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan.

The company pleaded guilty to two felony offenses in two judicial districts – the Eastern District of Virginia and the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Diana Wilhelmsen Management admitted that crew members onboard the Protefs, a 40,230 gross-ton, 738-foot ocean-going commercial bulk carrier, knowingly failed to record in the vessel’s oil record book the overboard discharge of oily bilge water from mid-April 2020 until before the vessel arrived in Newport News, Virginia, in June of 2020. The vessel also arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, on June 1st 2020 with a knowingly false oil record book.

The company admitted that the crew on the vessel used an emergency de-watering system to illegally discharge oily water directly into the ocean from the vessel’s bilge holding tank, duct keel and bilge wells. The discharges were not recorded in the oil record book.

Chief Engineer Vener Dailisan pleaded guilty to making a false statement to US Coast Guard inspectors about the existence of a Sounding Log. This is routinely asked for by inspectors in order to ascertain the accuracy of the oil record book. Dailisan was fined $3,000 and placed on probation for two years.

Diana Wilhelmsen Management is a 50/50 joint venture between Diana Shipping Inc. and Wilhelmsen Ship Management.

2004-built, Bahamas-flagged, 40,230 gt Protefs is owned by Cypres Enterprises Corp care of manager Diana Wilhelmsen Management Ltd (DWM) of Athens, Greece. It is entered with Britannia on behalf of Cypres Enterprises Corp.