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Feds: Cargo ship crew dumped trash, oily rags off N.C. coast

Feds: Cargo ship crew dumped trash, oily rags off N.C. coast
3 Dec 2020

The M/V Pac Antares, a ship belonging to Pacific Carriers Limited, a Singapore-based shipping company that operates a fleet of 60 vessels carrying grains, coal, fertilizer, logs and oil around the globe, was fined up to $12 million, placed on four years of probation and must work out an environmental compliance plan for the fleet and will be subject to outside audits, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

“The defendants in this case knowingly, intentionally and illegally discharged oily waste and other garbage into the waters along the North Carolina coast,” U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. said in a news release. “That coastline is among the great natural treasures of this country and we are committed to its protection.”

From April 2019 to September 2019, prosecutors said the ship M/V Pac Antares was plagued with faulty disposal methods. Engine room waste, including sludge and bilge water that became contaminated with oil from leaks or during regular maintenance on board the ship, was dumped into the ocean often off the coast of N.C., according to court filings.

The cleanup efforts resulted in the ship amassing oily water, rags and paint chips, court filings state. Prosecutors said members of the crew admitted to throwing “bags filled with oily rags” over the side of the ship.

None of the improper disposals were accurately logged as federally mandated on the ship’s record book, prosecutors said.