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Singapore-based Unix Line pleads guilty to illegally discharging bilge waste

28 Feb 2020

Singapore-based shipping company Unix Line Pte Ltd on Wednesday (26 February) pleaded guilty in the U.S. federal court to a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. 

In pleading guilty, Unix Line admitted that its crew members onboard the Zao Galaxy, a 26,198 dwt, ocean-going motor tanker, knowingly failed to record in the vessel’s oil record book the overboard discharge of oily bilge water without the use of required pollution-prevention equipment, during the vessel’s voyage from the Philippines to Richmond, Calif.

According to the plea agreement, Unix Line is the operator of the Zao Galaxy, which set sail from the Philippines on January 21, 2019, heading toward Richmond, carrying a cargo of palm oil. 

On 11 February, 2019, the Zao Galaxy arrived in Richmond, where it underwent a U.S. Coast Guard inspection and examination.  

Examiners discovered that during the voyage, a Unix Line-affiliated ship officer directed crew members to discharge oily bilge water overboard, using a configuration of drums, flexible pipes, and flanges to bypass the vessel’s oil water separator, said the U.S. Court.

The discharges were knowingly not recorded in the Zao Galaxy’s oil record book. 

On 24 October, 2019, a federal grand jury indicted Unix Line. 

On 19 February, 2020, Unix Line was charged by superseding information with one count of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, 33 U.S.C. § 1908(a).  

Under the plea agreement, Unix Line pled guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. 

Judge Tigar scheduled Unix Line’s sentencing hearing for 20 March, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. in Oakland.  

The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships is six years’ imprisonment and a fine of twice the gross gain or loss derived from the offense. 

However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Photo credit: Marine Traffic / M.L. Jacobs
Published: 28 February, 2020

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