Fines for shipowners for sea pollution in oil

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Haifa Magistrate’s Court Judge Orit Kantor convicted two shipping companies in two different cases following a criminal investigation conducted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The fines, in the total amount of NIS 400,000, were imposed on shipowners who docked at the port of Haifa for sea pollution in the oil and irregularities in the ships’ books.

Posted on: 2.8.20 11:45

By: Hagit Hornstein

The Magistrate’s Court in Haifa imposed fines totaling about NIS 400,000 on ship owners who docked in Haifa and on other positions in them for oil pollution in the sea and irregularities in the ships’ books. Justice of the Peace Orit Kantor convicted two shipping companies in two different cases, following a criminal investigation conducted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and indictments he filed.

Judge Kantor convicted URANUS SHIPPING & TRANSPORT as part of a plea deal, and ruled that the company’s owners and other officials would pay a fine of NIS 253,000 for serious defects in the oil book of the ship “URANUS L” that docked at the port of Haifa. As part of the plea agreement, the defendants admitted the facts in the indictment that were discovered in a criminal investigation conducted by the National Marine Environmental Protection Unit at the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The defendants were convicted of the offenses attributed to them in the indictment – spilling oil into seawater, prohibiting dirt in the public domain, illegally filling out an oil notebook and illegally keeping a garbage diary.

The investigation was opened after in August 2019, inspectors of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Shipping and Ports Authority discovered serious irregularities in the oil book records of the cattle ship “URANUS L” that sailed under the flag of Sierra Leon and docked at the Israel Shipyards Port in Haifa. The audit revealed serious irregularities in the management of the ship’s garbage and oil books, whose function is to monitor and document all routine activities related to the transfer of oils and garbage on the vessel. The irregularities that were discovered raise an immediate suspicion of dumping garbage into the sea or discharging oil into the sea. During an inspection of the ship’s engine room, the main drive shaft showed oil leaking out and water entering.

In addition to the fine, the court imposed on the defendants a financial obligation in the amount of NIS 446,000 to refrain from committing the offense for two years. The captain and the chief mechanic were fined NIS 15,000 each and pledged NIS 30,000 to refrain from committing the offense for two years.

In the second case, a review by inspectors of the National Marine Protection Unit of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and inspectors of the Shipping and Ports Authority conducted on the ship “AVATIU” of TANGO REY while docking in the port of Haifa in October 2019, found serious deficiencies in the ship’s oil books. The criticism raised serious irregularities in the management of the oil book and an immediate suspicion of oil spilling into the sea in violation of the law. Following the audit, inspectors from the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s Marine Unit opened a criminal investigation and filed an indictment against the ship’s owners, captain and chief mechanic.

In a plea agreement reached by the parties, the Haifa Magistrate’s Court convicted the defendants and imposed a fine of NIS 135,000 on the ship’s owners and a financial obligation of NIS 270,000 to refrain from committing the offense for two years. The chief mechanic was fined NIS 15,000 and fined NIS 30,000 for refraining from committing the offense for two years. As the ship’s captain was not located, the proceedings against him were suspended. If he is located in Israel in the future, it will be possible to resume the proceedings against him subject to the provisions of the law.

Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel: “The routine inspections and enforcement actions of the inspectors of the Ministry of Environmental Protection against ships calling at ports in Israel increase the deterrence against shipowners and their crews.


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