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Shipping firms face USD 2 mil fine after pleading guilty for dumping oil at sea

Prive Overseas Marine LLC and Prive Shipping Denizcilik Ticaret pleaded guilty to conspiracy, knowingly violating APPS and obstruction of justice related to falsification of Oil Record Book of tanker “PS Dream”.

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PS Dream vessel

Two related companies that operated the motor tanker PS Dream – Prive Overseas Marine LLC and Prive Shipping Denizcilik Ticaret – pleaded guilty on Tuesday (21 May) to conspiracy, knowingly violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and obstruction of justice related to the falsification of the tanker’s Oil Record Book, which is a required log.

According to the US Department of Justice, the guilty pleas were entered in federal court in New Orleans.

If the court approves the plea agreement, the companies will be fined a total of USD 2 million and serve four years of probation. Separate charges have been filed against Captain Abdurrahman Korkmaz, a Turkish national who was the ship’s master.

The criminal case stems from the report of a crew member who, on Jan. 11, 2023, contacted the Coast Guard in New Orleans, which was the next port-of-call, and shared a video showing oil being pumped overboard and trailing behind the tanker. When the ship arrived in New Orleans two weeks later, this individual and another crew member blew the whistle and provided evidence to the Coast Guard. Video and photographic images were filed in court today by the prosecutors.

“Deliberate pollution from ships, intentional falsification of records and obstruction of justice are serious environmental crimes that will be vigorously prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Maritime laws regulating pollution from ships are intended to ensure that ocean waters are not used as a dumping ground.”

“This case involved deceit and willful pollution, and this prosecution is intended to hold both the corporations and individuals accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “Criminal prosecutions are needed to deter deliberate efforts to circumvent our Nation’s anti-pollution laws. Importantly, $500,000 of the criminal penalty will go toward environmental protection of the marine environment in our area.”

“Today's outcome sends a powerful message: those who falsify logs and take deliberate actions to conceal pollution will face significant consequences,” said Captain Greg Callaghan, Deputy Commander of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sector New Orleans. “The Coast Guard and our partners remain steadfast in our shared commitment to safeguarding our waters and holding accountable those who threaten our marine ecosystems. We encourage individuals to continue reporting any suspicious activities, as each report plays a crucial role in protecting the marine environment."

“It is long past time for the maritime industry to meet its obligations under international law and stop illegal pollution from ships,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Illegal ocean dumping and falsifying records to conceal those violations will not be tolerated by EPA and our federal law enforcement partners.” 

The falsified logs, presented to the Coast Guard during its inspection, were intended to conceal the fact that the crew had dumped oil-contaminated waste overboard on the voyage to New Orleans and was not complying with MARPOL Annex I, an international treaty regulating oil pollution from ships. 

According to court documents, the ship’s master ordered crew members to pump overboard from the residual oil tank, which contained oily waste. A portable pump placed inside the tank and connected to a long flexible hose was used to discharge directly into the ocean without any required pollution prevention equipment or monitoring. 

The waste oil, including sludge, originated in the engine room and had been improperly transferred into the residual oil tank on the deck of the ship by a prior crew. Senior managers at Prive Shipping were aware that the oil-contaminated waste remained in the tank and were informed by the ship’s master that it had been dumped overboard.

The proposed USD 2 million criminal penalty includes USD 500,000 in organisational community service payments that will fund various maritime environmental projects in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Those projects will be managed by the congressionally established National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. The court also has authority to award up to USD 500,000, half of the APPS portion of the fine, to the whistleblowers that provided evidence leading to conviction.

Prive Overseas Marine is based in Dubai and Prive Shipping is based in Turkey. The corporations were charged with four felonies: conspiracy, an APPS violation and two counts of obstruction of justice. Captain Korkmaz was charged with two counts: a violation of APPS and obstructing the Coast Guard’s inspection of the ship.

 

Photo credit: büra keskendir / MarineTraffic
Published: 23 May 2024

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Business

Singapore: Convicted Hin Leong founder O.K. Lim to sell another bungalow for SGD 43 million

Third good class bungalow (GCB) in Tanglin Hill is owned by the former tycoon, who is waiting to be sentenced on 3 October, and his daughter Lim Huey Ching.

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The Founder of Hin Leong Trading, Lim Oon Kuin, also known as O.K. Lim, is looking to sell another one of his bungalows after he was convicted on two charges of cheating and one charge of instigating forgery for the purpose of cheating in May, according to news reports on Friday (21 June).

The third good class bungalow (GCB) in Tanglin Hill is owned by the former tycoon, who is waiting to be sentenced on 3 October, and his daughter Lim Huey Ching. 

The SGD 43 million property at 1K Tanglin Hill is being put up for tender and will close on 19 July. 

Lim reportedly sold his other GCB at 5 Second Avenue for SGD 33.39 million in October 2021 to the family of Mr Tan Yeow Khoon, former executive chairman of delisted logistics company Cogent Holdings.

In November 2023, his bungalow at 20 Third Avenue sold in November 2023 to a Singapore family for SGD 26.5 million. 

Manifold Times recently reported OK Lim, being convicted on the three charges after a trial of over 60 days.

The 82-year-old was first charged in court on 14 August 2020, and was subsequently handed further charges in court on 25 September 2020, 30 April 2021 and 24 June 2021 for his role in perpetuating fraud on various financial institutions. 

A total of 130 charges were eventually brought against him for cheating and forgery-related offences, and Lim claimed trial to these charges.

The trial proceeded on three charges:

  • Two charges of cheating under Section 420 of the Penal Code, and,
  • One charge of instigating forgery for the purpose of cheating under Section 468 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code.

Lim faces imprisonment of up to 10 years and shall also be liable to a fine for each charge under Section 420 of the Penal Code and Section 468 read with Section 109 of the Penal Code.

An extensive coverage by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times regarding the fall of Hin Leong can be found below:

Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder found guilty of cheating and instigating forgery charges
Related: Singapore: Lawyers of OK Lim and daughter accuse former PA of lying in her testimony
Related: Former PA to Hin Leong Trading Founder refutes OK Lim’s claim on his role in firm
Related: Founder OK Lim grilled by prosecutors on his involvement at Hin Leong Trading
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder testifies for the first time in his own defence
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder to testify in USD 111.7 mil cheating, forgery case
Related: Singapore: O.K. Lim, children faces liquidators and HSBC in USD 3.5 bil civil lawsuit
Related: Former PA to Hin Leong Trading Founder found lying in CAD investigations
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Founder goes to trial for cheating, forgery charges
Related: Hin Leong Trading Founder faces additional 105 cheating, forgery charges in court
Related: Ocean Tankers judicial managers progressing to liquidate firm after expiry of court order
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong Trading Director charged with obstructing course of justice
Related: Court of Appeal: Hin Leong, Lim family claim ‘without any factual or legal basis’
Related: Singapore: High Court dismisses UniCredit Bank USD 37 million claim against Glencore over Hin Leong transaction
Related: Singapore: Hin Leong takes Deloitte to court over alleged auditing failures
Related: Hin Leong Trading Founder OK Lim facing 23 new forgery-related charges at State Courts
Related: Application to wind up Hin Leong Trading subsidiary, Hin Leong Marine approved
Related: Singapore High Court approves Hin Leong Trading wind up order application
Related: Hin Leong Trading liquidates a third of its fleet to recover USD 3.5 billion debt
Related: Lim family aims to wind up Hin Leong Trading subsidiary, Hin Leong Marine
Related: Judicial Managers of Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd file for winding up order
Related: Hin Leong judicial managers to hold meeting of creditors to discuss fees incurred
Related: Lim family files application to wind up Hin Leong Trading subsidiary, Hin Leong Marine
Related: First creditors meeting of Ocean Tankers to be held in early January 2021
Related: Bank of China takes legal action against BP Plc and Lim family to recover $312.9 million
Related: OBS to wind up operations; creditor list alleges estimated USD 42 million debt
Related: Ocean Tankers publishes notice for creditors to prove any debts or claims for publication
Related: Hin Leong Trading founder denies allegations of forgery put forward by HSBC
Related: Singapore: Xihe Holdings and subsidiaries to be placed under judicial management
Related: HSBC takes Lim family and Hin Leong employee to court to recover USD 85.3 million
Related: Da An Shipping Pte Ltd passes winding-up resolution and publishes notice to creditors
Related: Xihe Capital and subsidiaries, Nan Guang Maritime to undergo voluntary liquidation
Related: MPA: Ocean Bunkering Services licenses suspended ‘until further notice’ and not revoked
Related: Ocean Bunkering Services bunker claims against ASL Marine & Offshore heads to arbitration
Related: Ocean Tankers to return most ships to owners to reduce $540,000 a day cash burn
Related: Singapore: Ocean Bunkering Services license suspended until further notice
Related: PwC publishes ‘investment opportunity’ for Singapore independent bunker fuel supplier
Related: Hin Leong founder O.K. Lim hit with second charge of abatement in forgery
Related: Hin Leong judicial managers and legal firms could rack up SGD 17.3 million in fees
Related: Winson Group wins ICC backing in dispute against banks over credit for Hin Leong Trading
Related: O.K. Lim and two children sued for USD 3.5billion; receiver appointed for 3 Xihe ships
Related: Managers of Ocean Tankers looking to recover USD 19 million from Lim family
Related: Argus Media: Singapore’s Hin Leong founder charged with forgery
Related: Xihe Holdings placed under IJM as OCBC reverses decision for ‘consensual restructuring’
Related: Xihe replaces Directors, forms new management team to chart fresh course for Group
Related: Hin Leong Trading lawyers publish application to fulfill requirements for hearing to proceed
Related: Ocean Tankers legal team publishes application to be placed under judicial management
Related: Judicial management applications for Hin Leong Trading and Ocean Tankers delayed
Related: Lim family to inhibit law firm Rajah & Tann from representing troubled HLT & OTPL
Related: OCBC files for Xihe Holdings to be placed under judicial management
Related: Judicial managers of Ocean Tankers discover discrepancies and fraud in exposure claims
Related: Judicial managers of Ocean Tankers to present restructuring proposals to owners
Related: PwC probes uncover mass grave of financial skeletons and alleged fraud within HLT
Related: Winson Group seeks SGD 30.4 million from Standard Chartered over HLT related trade
Related: Winson Group seeks SGD 30.4 million from OCBC over credit pull in Hin Leong trade
Related: Ocean Tankers: Notice to prove debt or claim published by interim judicial managers
Related: ‘Reasonable prospects’ to keep Ocean Tankers as a going concern, states Director
Related: Singapore: Ocean Tankers, a separate entity of Hin Leong, seeking judicial management
Related: Singapore High Court concedes interim judicial management to Hin Leong Trading
Related: Sembcorp commences legal proceedings against Hin Leong Trading over gasoil cargo
Related: Sembcorp Cogen aborts gasoil supply and storage contract with Hin Leong Trading
Related: Report: Sinopec expresses interest in Hin Leong Trading stake of Universal Terminal
Related: Report: Hin Leong Trading appoints PwC as interim judicial manager
Related: Singapore’s Police Force commence investigations into Hin Leong Trading
Related: Report: Hin Leong Trading founder gave instructions to hide USD 800 million losses
Related: Singapore: Ocean Bunkering Services to discontinue marine fuel deliveries
Related: Hin Leong in debt restructuring exercise; Ocean Tankers a separate entity, says CEO
Related: Report: Hin Leong Trading finances under scrutiny, amid credit pull from two banks

 

Photo credit: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Published: 24 June, 2024

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Legal

Shipowner and captain fined for using heavy fuel oil around Svalbard

Foreign shipping company has been fined NOK 1 million for having sailed one of its cargo ships with heavy fuel oil on board within the territorial waters around Svalbard; captain has been fined NOK 30,000.

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RESIZED venti views

A foreign shipping company has been fined NOK 1 million (USD 94,632) for having sailed one of its ships with heavy fuel oil on board within the territorial waters around Svalbard, which is a breach of the Svalbard Environment Act, according to the Governor of Svalbard on Thursday (13 June). 

In addition, the captain has been fined NOK 30,000.

On 6 June 2024, the cargo ship passed into Svalbard's territorial waters, despite the vessel having heavy fuel oil on board, which was established by an inspection carried out by inspectors from the Norwegian Maritime Directorate on the same day.

“This is a breach of Section 82a of the Svalbard Environment Act, which stipulates that ships calling at Svalbard cannot use or have heavy fuel oil as a means of transport. The provision applies to the whole of Svalbard and was introduced on 1 January 2022,” Lars Fause said. 

For the violation of Section 82a of the Svalbard Environment Act, the Governor of Svalbard has issued a forfeiture order against the foreign shipping company of NOK 1,000,000. In addition, the captain of the ship has been fined NOK 30,000.

“It is the first time that the Governor has fined a company in connection with a breach of the heavy oil provision on Svalbard,” he added. 

The fines have not been accepted. The shipping company provided a guarantee for the sum of the fine and was thus allowed to sail down from Svalbard on Wednesday evening, 12 June.

The main hearing in the case is scheduled for the Nord-Troms district court in early October.

 

Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 20 June, 2024

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Business

Singapore: Xihe Capital liquidator issues notice of intended dividend

Xihe Capital Pte Ltd and its subsidiaries are owned by the Lim family, who are also the owners of the embattled Hin Leong Trading.

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RESIZED Drew Beamer

A notice to declare intended dividend of Nan Shan Maritime Pte Ltd to its creditors has been posted on the Government Gazette on Monday (10 June).

Xihe Capital Pte Ltd and its subsidiaries are owned by the Lim family, who are also the owners of the embattled Hin Leong Trading.

The following are the details of the notice of intended dividend:

Name of Company : XIHE CAPITAL (PTE.) LTD. (IN CREDITORS’ VOLUNTARY LIQUIDATION)
Unique Entity No. / Registration No. : 201727410K
Address of Registered Office : 10 ANSON ROAD, #10-10,INTERNATIONAL PLAZA, SINGAPORE 079903
Last Day for Receiving Proofs : 2 JULY 2024
Name of Liquidator : TAM CHEE CHONG
Address : c/o 10 ANSON ROAD, #10-10, INTERNATIONAL PLAZA, SINGAPORE 079903

Related: Singapore: Liquidator arranges creditors meeting for Xihe Capital
Related: Petition to place Xihe Capital subsidiaries under judicial management approved
Related: Creditors’ meeting for Xihe Capital and related shipping firms to take place in November

 

Photo credit: Drew Beamer
Published: 19 June 2024

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