By Eric Freedman
An Ontario shipping company agreed to pay a $ 500,000 fine and implement an environmental compliance program after accepting responsibility for the illegal dumping of 11,887 gallons of oily bilge water into Lake Ontario.
Algoma Central Corp. of St. Catharines pleaded guilty in Buffalo US District Court to an indictable offense under the Clean Water Act.
Buffalo U.S. Attorney James Kennedy Jr. said the sanction “ensures that this company will be monitored in the future and will be strictly required to comply with environmental laws and regulations that protect our waters, fisheries, wildlife and each. from U.S.”
The June 2017 incident involving the M / V Algoma Strongfield, a new bulk carrier that was delivered from China where it was built, according to the prosecution in federal court.
A Dutch company had the Strongfield equipped across the Pacific Ocean and the Panama Canal. During the trip, untreated oily bilge water accumulated and an Algoma Central employee ordered it to be stored in a used washwater tank, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a report. communicated. Press release.
A crew from Algoma Central took over when the vessel arrived in Sept-Ãles, Quebec, but the company did not notify all new sailors and inspectors of the contents of the wash water tank. The captain, who was unaware of the contents, gave permission to empty the tank into the lake, but stopped the process when an employee told him about the oily bilge water, the statement said.
The company then informed US and Canadian authorities of the incident, which led to a US Coast Guard investigation.
As part of the plea deal, the new three-year environmental compliance plan applies to eight Algoma Central vessels – the Algoma Conveyor, G3 Marquis, Algoma Equinox, Algoma Harvester, Algoma Innovator, Algoma Niagara and Algoma Sault , as well as the Strongfield.
The plan includes monitoring, training and reporting requirements and allows the Coast Guard to board and inspect ships whenever they are in U.S. waters.