Thursday, 4:30 PM
Oil tanker company fined $37M for ocean dumping
By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff
One of the world's largest publicly traded tanker companies has agreed to pay a record $37 million fine and plead guilty to 33 criminal charges of illegally dumping waste oil off the coast of Nantucket, Cape Cod, North Carolina, California and the Gulf of Mexico, the Justice Department announced today.
New York-based Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. has admitted under an agreement with the government that 12 of its oil tankers were involved in illegal dumping or falsifying log records between 2001 and 2006. The company will plead guilty to violations of the Clean Water Act, conspiracy, making false statements, and obstruction of justice.
During a press conference overlooking Boston Harbor, Acting Associate Attorney General William Mercer said the company's tankers often illegally dumped waste oil at night to avoid detection and "engaged in repeated and deliberate pollution of our ocean."
Mercer said the company continued to intentionally pollute the oceans to avoid the cost and time of complying with the law, even after the Justice Department and the US Coast Guard launched an investigation more than three years ago and brought its allegations to the company's management.
The president and chief executive officer of Overseas Shipholding, Morten Arntzen, released a statement today saying that the company believed the comprehensive settlement was in the best interests of its shareholders, employees and customers.
"We are pleased to bring closure to this investigation and believe our cooperation with the government was vital to today's announcement," Arntzen said. "The changes that we have implemented based on what we learned from this investigation support our goal to be the most respected and successful transportation services company in the shipping industry."