By the OGJ Online Staff
WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 11 --US and state law enforcement officials Mar. 8 announced that a US district court in Baltimore ordered the Danish shipping Company D/S Progress to pay a $250,000 criminal fine for conspiring to conceal a hazardous leak in the hull of an oil tanker that visited Baltimore in March 2000. The US Department of Justice said the Freja Jutlandic oil tanker also failed to report emergency discharges undertaken to save the ship and presented false log books to the US Coast Guard in order to disguise the leak and emergency discharges. Law enforcement officials learned of the deception after crew members secretly slipped a note to Coast Guard inspectors, Justice said.
D/S Progress last October admitted it sought to avoid the expense of maintaining a safe and seaworthy vessel, Justice said. The shipping company also admitted that "it used false oil record books to conceal deliberate dumping of waste oil from the bilges and from cargo tanks using equipment and procedures to bypass required pollution prevention equipment and create the overall false impression that the vessel was being operated properly," according to Justice. The company had employees flush clean water on a sensor designed to detect oil and limit overboard discharges of oil.