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Vessel Operator, Captain and Chief Engineer plead guilty to illegal oil discharge

Zeus Lines Management pleaded guilty to maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oily bilge and for failing to report a hazardous condition on board “Galissas”.

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Zeus Lines Management S.A. (Zeus), a vessel operating company, pleaded guilty on 1 May in Providence, Rhode Island, to maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oily bilge and for failing to report a hazardous condition on board the oil tanker Galissas, according to the United States Department of Justice on Wednesday (3 May). 

The company’s chief engineer, Roberto Cayabyab Penaflor, and Captain Jose Ervin Mahigne Porquez also pleaded guilty today for their roles in those crimes. The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on 8 August.

According to court documents, Zeus and Penaflor admitted that oily bilge water was illegally dumped from the Galissas directly into the ocean without being properly processed through required pollution prevention equipment. Oily bilge water typically contains oil contamination from the operation and cleaning of machinery on the vessel. They also admitted that these illegal discharges were not recorded in the vessel’s oil record book as required by law.

Specifically, on three separate occasions between November 2021 and February 2022, Penaflor ordered crew members working for him in the engine room to discharge a total of approximately 9,544 gallons of oily bilge water from the vessel’s bilge holding tank directly into the ocean using the vessel’s emergency fire pump, bypassing the vessel’s required pollution prevention equipment. In addition, in preparation for the U.S. Coast Guard’s inspection of the Galissas, Penaflor instructed crew members on several occasions to not tell the Coast Guard about bypassing the pollution prevention equipment resulting in illegal discharges.

“This prosecution demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the marine environment, and to safeguarding coastal communities against hazardous conditions,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with our partner agencies to ensure those who pollute and endanger our coastal communities are held fully accountable.”

“A critical mission of this office is protecting our environment from pollution and polluters, whether they impact our neighbourhoods or precious natural resources like the Narragansett Bay, one of the crown jewels of Rhode Island,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha for the District of Rhode Island. “In this case, a foreign company decided it could ignore its obligation under American law, putting our waters and coastal communities at risk. Today’s guilty pleas are a reminder that this office will enforce our environmental laws to hold violators – individuals and corporate – accountable and protect our vital natural resources and our citizenry.”

“This case demonstrates the U.S. government’s resolve to ensure the safety of life at sea and protect our ports from rogue and negligent actors,” said Rear Admiral John Mauger, Commander of the First Coast Guard District. “Every day, thousands of ships safely call on U.S. ports and handle nearly 95% of U.S. trade that drives our economy and provides for our national security. By sailing into a major U.S. port with a known faulty inert gas generator, the operator, and senior officers of the Galissas endangered not only their shipmates but also the people of Rhode Island. The Coast Guard will continue to train and deploy our vessel examiners to protect mariners and our nation's ports by deterring and detecting unsafe and illegal activity. We appreciate the strong resolve from the Justice Department in holding these rogue actors accountable.

In addition to the illegal discharges of oily bilge water, on 2 February, 2022, while the Galissas was conducting cargo operations in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, crew members became aware that the vessel’s inert gas system was inoperable. This system is necessary to ensure that oxygen levels within the vessel’s cargo tanks remain at safe levels – at or below 8% – and do not pose a hazardous condition that could lead to an explosion or fire. Rather than remaining in Rotterdam until the inert gas system could be repaired, shore side management of Zeus and Captain Porquez determined that the vessel should instead sail to the United States, where a spare part would be delivered upon the vessel’s arrival for the crew to repair the system.

On 11 February, 2022, while the Galissas was transiting the Atlantic Ocean from the Netherlands to the United States, Porquez submitted a required notice of arrival to the U.S. Coast Guard informing the Coast Guard of, among other things, the vessel’s last port of call, planned arrival in the United States and the type of cargo onboard the vessel. In this notice of arrival, Porquez did not report that a hazardous condition existed onboard the vessel (the inoperable inert gas system). 

On 19 February, 2022, the Galissas arrived off the coast of Rhode Island and although the vessel’s crew received and installed the spare part, the inert gas system remained inoperable. The following day, the U.S. Coast Guard measured the oxygen levels within the vessel’s cargo tanks and found levels ranged between 15 and 17%, well beyond the maximum allowable 8%. The Coast Guard then ordered that the vessel be moved further offshore so as to not endanger the port of Newport, Rhode Island.

Porquez had a logbook created that indicated the cargo tanks were at safe oxygen levels when the vessel left the Netherlands and remained at safe levels during the majority of the vessel’s transit of the Atlantic Ocean. In reality, the crew had not taken any readings of the oxygen levels in the cargo tanks during the vessel’s voyage. Porquez had tasked the vessel’s chief officer with creating this fraudulent logbook that was then presented to the U.S. Coast Guard during its inspection.

Zeus and Penaflor each pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to accurately maintain the oil record book for the Galissas. Zeus and Porquez also pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act for failing to report the vessel’s hazardous condition to the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Under the terms of the plea agreement Zeus will pay a total monetary penalty of USD 2.25 million, consisting of a fine of USD 1,687,500 and a community service payment of USD 562,500. The community service payment will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to fund projects to benefit marine and coastal natural resources located in the State of Rhode Island. Additionally, Zeus will serve a four-year term of probation, during which any vessels operated by the company and calling on U.S. ports will be required to implement a robust environmental compliance plan.

The U.S. Coast Guard Southeastern New England Sector and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service are investigating the case.

 

Photo credit: Bill Oxford
Published: 5 May, 2023

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Business

MAN Energy Solutions opens largest service hub in Singapore

New facility able to meet demand for repairs, maintenance and training services for MAN Energy Solutions’ alternative-fuel engines, such as two-stroke methanol dual-fuel engines.

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MAN ES MPA

Singapore on Friday (1 March) welcomed the opening of MAN Energy Solutions’ new mixed purpose facility today that will expand their local business activities.

MAN Energy Solutions is one of the global engine makers of alternative-fuel engines, and is driving the maritime energy transition by enabling the use of cleaner fuels in ships around the world.

Located in Tuas, MAN Energy Solutions' EUR 20 mil (SGD30 mil) investment will include a new MAN PrimeServ training academy for customers and employees, a logistics centre to serve as the warehouse for Asia, and a PrimeServ workshop to provide maintenance and repair services, including for MAN Energy Solutions’ alternative-fuel engines.

The new facility will serve as the largest service hub for MAN Energy Solutions’ activities and engagements outside of Europe, and will allow shipowners and ship managers to gain round-the-clock access to technical services for MAN Energy Solutions products such as repairs and maintenance of their alternative-fuel two-stroke engines, reduce turnaround times for ships due to quicker access to spare parts, and providing training for seafarers on the safe operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of all MAN Energy Solutions equipment.

The new facility would also be timely to cater to the demand for repairs, maintenance and training services for MAN Energy Solutions’ alternative-fuel engines, such as the two-stroke methanol dual-fuel engines that are already available and for the two-stroke ammonia dual-fuel engines that are currently in development.

The mixed-purpose facility was launched by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

SMS Khor said: “MAN Energy Solutions has been a long-time partner for Maritime Singapore since its establishment here in 1977. I am heartened that MAN Energy Solutions has placed a strong vote of confidence in Singapore by setting up its second hub outside of Europe here, setting the stage for collaboration in maritime decarbonisation, digitalisation, and talent development.”

“The expansion of MAN Energy Solutions’ workshop and warehouse activities will provide much needed capacity to support the maintenance of ocean-going vessels that adopt engines fuelled by new marine fuels.”

“MAN Energy Solutions' expanded training academy will also support Singapore's drive to upskill and reskill of our workforce, to build confidence for maritime workers to safely handle new marine fuels. I look forward to many more years of meaningful collaboration, especially in these emerging areas.”

Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO MAN Energy Solutions, said, “With over 9,000 square metres of floor space, Singapore is our largest hub outside of Europe in what is one of the most important maritime centres globally. We intend for this mixed-purpose facility to advance the maritime energy transition locally through education, logistics, and a comprehensive after-sales portfolio. Ultimately, we are ‘moving big things to zero’ and leading our customers towards a multi-fuel, decarbonised future.”

Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive Officer of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said, “As the world’s largest bunkering port and major transhipment hub, Singapore is committed to the maritime digitalisation and the green transition. We have been long-time partners with MAN Energy Solutions and have been working closely together in various methanol and ammonia shipping consortiums and also in skills development.”

“MAN Energy Solutions’ new maintenance and training facility here will add deep expertise and experience to the growing and vibrant new fuels ecosystem here and also upskilling of our maritime workforce, especially in the area of new methanol and ammonia engines.”

Nicolas Brabeck, Managing Director, MAN Energy Solutions, Singapore, said: “This new facility represents one of the biggest investments that we have made outside of our product centres within recent years. It forms a key part of our company’s Triple 10+ business strategy that aims for growth through green technologies. In this context, we intend to equip our personnel with the right skillsets to handle the new technologies coming online and drive our business forward. We therefore expect to significantly increase staff numbers on-site to some 400 people by 2027, and look forward to cultivating great relationships with our customers and the various, Singaporean authorities.”

MAN Energy Solutions’ Singapore office is its largest service hub outside Europe, and currently employs 250 staff.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 4 March 2024

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Business

Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union launches upgraded Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre

Centre includes new dual-fuel engine simulators, offering realistic training scenarios to prepare seafarers for the evolving maritime landscape and the shift to cleaner bunker fuels.

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Wavelink MPA

Singapore Maritime Officers'​ Union launched the newly upgraded Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre (WMSC), according to Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Thursday (29 February).

The SGD 2.75 million facility includes new dual-fuel engine simulators, offering realistic training scenarios to prepare seafarers for the evolving maritime landscape and the shift to cleaner fuels, in line with industry sustainability goals.

The WMSC was unveiled by Minister Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment at SMOU’s seminar titled Advancing Maritime Resilience: No One is Left Behind.

The seminar, focusing on transition and training, aimed to reinforce shared responsibility, empower the maritime workforce through training, and champion sustainability without disadvantaging stakeholders in achieving #netzero emissions by 2050.

MPA's Assistant Chief Executive (Corporate & Strategy) Hoe Soon Tan participated in a panel discussion on "Prioritising a 'Just Transition", addressing strategies to bridge skill gaps and ensure a smooth and equitable transition for all seafarers.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 4 March 2024

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Newbuilding

Singapore: EPS orders ammonia, LNG dual-fuel vessels from China

EPS signed one contract for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International.

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Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (28 February) said it signed two new contract orders in a signing ceremony in Shanghai, one for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International. 

The contracts signed cover four 210,000 dwt ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers and two 111,000 dwt LNG dual-fuel LR2 oil tankers, expanding our fleet of green vessels on water. 

“These are pivotal for EPS, testament to our continued commitment towards the decarbonisation of shipping,” EPS said in a social media post.

Manifold Times recently reported EPS signing a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Related: Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 1 March 2024

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