Glasgow-based Norbulk Shipping UK has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to pay a criminal penalty of $750,000 for not maintaining an accurate oil record book, in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS).

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has also found that the company, which operates the refrigerated cargo vessel M/V Murcia Carrier, provided false statements about the vessel’s refuse record book to the US Coast Guard.

The firm has also been placed under a three-year probationary period, the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey stated.

"Today the company will pay a price for this inexcusable and criminal act."

Environment and Natural Resources Division assistant attorney General John C Cruden said: "Our oceans are life giving and life sustaining resources that our country and our world depend upon.

"Ignoring perfectly legal and feasible ways to dispose of waste, the defendants chose instead to dump directly into the ocean. Today the company will pay a price for this inexcusable and criminal act."

According to APPS, vessels such as the M/V Murcia Carrier have to maintain an oil record book that documents all transfers and disposals of oil-contaminated waste, including discharging waste overboard.

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By GlobalData

Moreover, the vessels need to maintain a rubbish record book, which documents the discharge of all waste into the sea from the vessel.

According to the US DoJ, in April last year, M/V Murcia Carrier crew members dumped several barrels containing hydraulic oil overboard into international waters, off the coast of Florida.

The government believes that around 20 barrels were dumped and not recorded in either the ship’s oil or garbage record books, as required.

In addition, crew members presented a US Coast Guard boarding team with false oil and garbage logs to conceal their actions.

The Norbulk incident was investigated by the US Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and the US Coast Guard Investigative Service.