A U.S. District Court judge in Rhode Island has sentenced Zeus Lines Management S.A., the Greek company that owned and operated the Galissas, to pay $2.25 million over for safety and environmental violations aboard the tanker bound for the U.S. The tanker’s captain and chief engineer have also been sentenced to probation.
The violations, which included failing to report a hazardous condition and illegally dumping oily bilge water into the ocean without proper processing, were discovered during a U.S. Coast Guard Port State Control inspection in February 2022 after the tanker arrived in the Rhode Island following a transatlantic voyage from Rotterdam.
According to evidence submitted in court, the Galissas’ inert gas system became inoperable during cargo operations in Rotterdam. Instead of remaining in port for repairs, the ship sailed to the US, where a spare part was to be delivered. The US Coast Guard was not informed of the hazardous condition, and upon inspection, found that oxygen levels within the cargo tanks were more than double the maximum allowable levels. The Coast Guard had to order the vessel to move offshore to ensure there was no danger to the Port of Newport.
Additionally, the captain created a fraudulent logbook showing safe oxygen levels during the voyage, which was presented to the Coast Guard during inspection.
Zeus and the chief engineer also admitted to illegally dumping oily bilge water from the Galissas into the ocean without proper processing, and not recording the discharges in the vessel’s oil record book. The chief engineer ordered crew members to discharge approximately 9,544 gallons of oily bilge water into the ocean using the vessel’s emergency fire pump, bypassing required pollution prevention equipment, and instructed them not to report it to the Coast Guard.
Back in May, Zeus admitted to violating The Ports and Waterways Safety Act and The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. The Galissas’ captain, Master Jose Ervin Mahinge Porquez of the Philippines, admitted to violating The Ports and Waterways Safety Act, while the chief engineer, Roberto Cayabyab Penaflor, also of the Philippines, admitted violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
Zeus was ordered to pay a total monetary penalty of $2.25 million, consisting of a fine and a community service payment, and serve a four-year term of probation. The captain and chief engineer were sentenced to terms of probation.