A cruise line company, based in the US, has agreed to plead guilty to seven felony charges stemming from its deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up. The company will pay a $40 million penalty– the largest-ever criminal penalty involving deliberate vessel pollution – and plead guilty to charges related to illegal dumping of oil contaminated waste from one of their ships.
The company will also have to operate under a court supervised Environmental Compliance Program (ECP) for five years. The ECP will require independent audits by an outside entity and a court appointed monitor.
The charges concern a cruise ship which used a so-called “magic pipe” to illegally discharge oily waste off the coast of England. The whistle blowing engineer quit his position when the ship reached Southampton, England. The chief engineer and senior first engineer ordered a cover-up, including removal of the magic pipe and directing subordinates to lie.
According to papers filed in court, the ship had been making illegal discharges through bypass equipment since 2005, one year after the ship began operations. The discharge on Aug. 26, 2013, involved approximately 4,227 gallons, 23 miles off the coast of England within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. At the same time as the discharge, engineers simultaneously ran clean seawater through the ship’s overboard equipment in order to create a false digital record for a legitimate discharge
A District Council has been fined £250,000 and was ordered to pay £18,325 in costs after a worker was left with permanent injured after being diagnosed with hard arm vibration (HAV). The council had not taken steps to eliminate or control the exposure of their workers to HAVs. They also failed to educate their workers on the risk and train them on how to control their exposure to the vibrations caused by the power tools.
The director of a South Wales furniture factory and three of its managers have received suspended prison sentences for ongoing health and safety failings.
The Health and Safety Executives (HSE) has been targeting woodworking premises for inspection, as they are considered a high-risk industry because of dangerous machines and hazardous substances including wood dust and glues. Ten Improvement Notices were served on the company in February 2015, following a visit by HSE Inspectors which found poor control of wood dust, no maintenance of work equipment including fume and dust extraction, noisy conditions and inadequate toilet and washing facilities.
Despite ongoing intervention by the HSE, there was little progress and conditions remained poor. Seven of the Improvement Notices were not complied with.