Norwegian shipping company Clipper Shipping has been fined $1.5m by a Texas court for pollution after it dumped bilge water and then attempted to cover it up. 

Clipper Shipping pleaded guilty to the charges, brought by the US Coastguard and as such has agreed to an enhanced environmental compliance plan along with the hefty fine. 

US attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani of the southern district of Texas said: “Not only did this ship pollute the water but they tried to cover it up.”

Between 27 September and 1 October 2021, the Clipper Saturn ship was anchored off Lome, Togo and was found to have transferred “oily bilge water” into its grey water tank. Overnight, it then discharged the water via piping which had been meddled with and then replaced.

The Houston, Texas district court heard that authorities discovered the replaced and repainted section when coastguards inspected the ship on 28 October 2021. 

The illegal discharge was omitted from the ship’s Oil Record Book. 

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“The US Coast Guard must be able to rely on truthful records on board ships and the Department of Justice will continue to ensure polluters are held fully accountable,” said assistant attorney general Todd Kim of the justice department’s environment and natural resources division. 

Hamdani further noted: “To put it simply, Clipper Saturn wanted to get rid of dirty oily water from their ship. Instead of filtering out the hazardous elements, as required, they decided to cut costs and just release the whole contaminated mess into the sea.

“Unfortunately for them, they got caught when they docked in Houston. The fine imposed today tells them that there is a bigger cost to endangering our citizens and the environment in which they live.”