San Francisco: Norwegian shipping company DSD and several of its officers were indicted in a US court on Wednesday, charged with obstructing justice and with environmental crimes.
A federal grand jury in Mobile, Alabama found reason to return a seven-count indictment on the Stavanger-based firm, which is properly known as Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab. Four of its engineers – one Romanian and three Chinese men – were also indicted.
Among the charges are obstruction of justice, witness tampering and conspiracy, along with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS).
The crux of the case is an incident in 2014 when DSD and its employees are said to have conspired to bypass pollution-prevention equipment aboard the oil tanker Stavanger Blossom (105,641 dwt, built 2007) in US waters.
The indictment says they used a bypass pipe – sometimes referred to as a “magic pipe” – to discharge waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water directly into the sea.
If convicted, DSD Shipping could be fined up to $500,000 per count, plus other penalties. The four individuals face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted on the obstruction of justice charges.