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  • Marine Oil Pollution Cases in NJ

    Photo of illegal pipe on an Evergreen Ship

    Photo Credit: US Department of Justice

    What we know about intentional oil pollution in New Jersey’s coastal waters comes from a number of recent legal cases involving commercial ships. These violations likely represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the illegal dumping of oil from ships.

    Here are a few recent cases.


    Evergreen International paid a fine of $25 million in 2001 for deliberate vessel pollution.

    Evergreen’s environmental crimes were discovered in March, 2001, when a team of US Coast Guard officials traced a 500 gallon spill in the Columbia River to the Ever Group, one of the cargo ships in Evergreen’s fleet.

    Several months later, an illegal discharge pipe was discovered on the Ever Given, another ship owned by the company.

    This led to a mass investigation of Evergreen vessels in Los Angeles, CA; Newark, NJ; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Charleston, SC. The investigation discovered that at least seven company ships were illegally dumping oily waste in US waters, falsifying records, and lying to Coast Guard officials.

    $25 million was distributed to each of the five states, and $10 million was allocated for environmental community-service projects in the regions.


    In June, 2006, US Coast Guard inspectors discovered a false oil record book aboard the Clipper Trojan Tanker in the port of Newark, New Jersey.

    The false record book concealed the fact that the ship had been dumping oily sludge and oiled bilge water into the sea in violation of both US and international laws.

    In June, 2008, the Danish shipping company Clipper Marine Services pled guilty to the violations and was ordered to pay a $3.25 million fine. The ship’s chief engineer was sentenced to five months in prison.

    The company was also made to outfit its ships with state-of-the-art oily water separators and implement a new discharge monitoring system in five vessels. Clipper Marine Services also paid $1.5 million for the protection, study, and restoration of marine resources in New Jersey.

    The Snow Flower

    Photo Credit: Osvaldo Morales Cáceres


    In March, 2009, Holy House Shipping AB was ordered to pay a one million dollar fine and a $400,000 payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for dumping oily waste and concealing the illegal discharges. The chief engineer was sentenced to probation and paid a fine of $8,000.