Friday, April 27, 2007

Polluting the High Seas- another example to learn from

It seems we as a community still have some things to learn. Such as that horrible lesson that we were taught when the Valdez grounded on Bligh reef. Most people who are sailing are well aware of the consequences we face in today's world. Pollution is a hot topic- one that can get Mariners put behind bars.

Now I am about as far from a crazy leftwing environmentalist as you can get- but I do respect the environment and I do care what happens to our world- I personally would not pollute the water on purpose... but I was taught to be that way- so maybe it is a generational thing. Maybe the oldtimers think they can do it and that they might save a buck or two and land a bigger bonus from the home office. Maybe.

I really doubt that though.

In this new case, two Cheif Engineers pleaded guilty to polluting the ocean using 'magic pipes' to bypass the oily water separator and the storage tanks- dumping massive amounts of oil and bilge waste into the water. New reports say that the bypass pipes had been discovered by the Coast Guard during a routine inspection.

PGM (Pacific Gulf Marine) pleaded guilty to charges related to its role in deliberately discharging hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil-contaminated bilge waste from four of its giant car-carrier ships used to transport vehicles, including the Tanabata and Fidelio. The shipping company was sentenced on Jan. 24, 2007, to pay $1 million criminal fines and $500,000 in community service, and serve three years of probation under the terms of an environmental compliance plan which will be audited by a court-appointed monitor.

In the old days, companies put pressure on the crew to 'get rid of it' when it came to the costly disposal of waste. I don't know if Pacific Gulf Marine would encourage that type of behavior even if it would save them money in the long haul. I seriously doubt they would. I really don't know why the Engineers went to so much trouble, illegally dumping and faking log entries unless there was some reward for doing so. However, with the stiff penalities one would think that it would be strongly discouraged behavior. I hope that this serves as another reminder to mariners out there who have thought about trying to save the company a few bucks.

It isn't worth jail time.

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