San Francisco, California - Unix Line PTE Ltd., a Singapore-based shipping company, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson of the Northern District of California and U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agent in Charge Kelly S. Hoyle made the announcement.
In pleading guilty, Unix Line admitted that its crew members onboard the Zao Galaxy, a 16,408 gross-ton, 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, California.
According to the plea agreement, Unix Line is the operator of the Zao Galaxy, which set sail from the Philippines on Jan. 21, 2019, heading toward Richmond, California, carrying a cargo of palm oil. On Feb. 11, 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. The discharges were knowingly not recorded in the Zao Galaxy’s oil record book.
Unix Line’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 20 before U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar in Oakland, California.
Senior Trial Attorney Kenneth Nelson of the Environmental Crimes Section, with the assistance of Kay Konopaske and Katie Turner, Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Lloyd-Lovett and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Briggs of the Northern District of California are prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of a year-long investigation by the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Investigations Division of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco.