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What's Up in the Bilge Part 2 ...

What's Up With International Regulations ... These regulations exist to ensure shipping practices are environmentally sound ... The International Maritime Organization is Considered to be the Global Regulator of Shipping ... It's Regulations apply to 99% of the world’s merchant tonnage ... It regulates several types of vessel pollution ... This includes ... Everything From Dangerous Cargo, Garbage, and Noxious Emissions ... There is one specific annex dedicated entirely to the treatment of oily waste mixtures ... This Includes Oily Bilge Waste, and Standards for Operational or Accidental Discharges ... Currently, vessels are allowed to return dirty water to the ocean. However, these are limited to discharge oil concentrations of no more than 15 parts per million ... Staying Within These Limits Requires the Use of Machines Called Oil-Water Separators to Reach the Goal ... This is a strict requirement in the annex. Large vessels over 10,000 gross tonnage are required to install alarms and automatic stopping devices if the wastewater exceeds 15 ppm ... When Vessels Discharge Untreated or Insufficiently Treated Bilge, They Knowingly Circumvent this Crucial Step in the Disposal Process ... Penalties for breaking the law include criminal felonies such as obstruction of justice, fines up to $40 million, probation of the shipping company and its operating vessels, as well as prison sentences for those directly responsible ... Under the US Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships up to 50% of the Value of These Fines Provide ... Compensation for Whistleblowers Involved in the Prosecution ... When whistleblowers report wrongdoings they are risking their employment as well as potential retaliation such as physical abuse. Appropriate compensation is an important incentive for whistleblowers who take these risks, especially since whistleblowers are responsible for a large number of successful convictions ... However, Compensation Can be Uncertain ... Because it Depends on How Useful a Court Deems the Information the Whistleblowers Provide ... Marine Defenders,is and educational program that aims to reduce oil pollution in U.S. coastal waters. They Predict that 5,000-7,500 Vessels Discharge Untreated Bilge Around the World Annually ... Documentation ... Vessel operators are required to maintain an oil logbook that contains all cleaning and disposal events ... Whether They are Intentional, Accidental, Legal or illegal ... When accusations of bilge dumping appear in court, they often reveal the presence of false log-books that include inaccurate records of discharged pollutants at sea. This can further reveal that the vessel is using bypass equipment or tampering with the oil-water separator to avoid appropriate treatment ... Logbooks Can be Verified Through Vessel Inspections, or Sometimes With the Help of Whistleblowers. ... Frequently, false log books result large fines.

The vessel owners face the largest of these fines. Additional fines and sentences can also be given to individuals directly responsible for the crime ... Usually These are Vessel Operators or Engineers ... It is costly for vessel Owners to treat their wastewater ... It requires that they either invest upfront in an on-board treatment system or they pay for treatment at a port facility ... Both of These Options Can Cost Tens of Thousands of Dollars a Year, Depending on the Amount of Travel and Fuel Used ... Operators, officers, and engineers Have all been found to bypass expensive treatments in order to avoid operating costs so that they can gain a competitive advantage. ... Conversely ... Officers Can Receive Bonuses if Environmental Compliance Budgets are Maintained ... Some players in the shipping industry have been reported to treat crew members poorly, and crew members can be threatened with job loss or lost wages if they fail to follow orders ...In Some Cases ... Vessels Without Oil-Water Separator Equipment that need to empty their hull of oily waste might choose to avoid the extra travel needed to reach a port facility with the appropriate equipment, and instead ... Dump Wastewater into The Sea Enroute ... However, There Isn't a Shortage of Port Reception Facilities ... There are Currently 3,253 Oily waste Facilities Available to Treat Oily Bilge Water in Over 80 Member States ...

...These Port Facilities are Conveniently Located along Common Shipping Routes ... Unfortunately, Some vessel operators assume they have a low probability of being caught. However ... Many of Thee Captains May be Unaware of How Closely They Are Being Monitored by Global Positioning System Satellites, and Nearby Aircraft or Other Vessels. Operators who fear being caught sometimes illegally alter or turn off their Automatic Identification System ... And Go Dark at Sea ... AIS is a radio frequency broadcast equipped with GPS that is mandatory on almost all large oceangoing vessels. This action help promote safety at sea. Ships can communicate through AIS and avoid collisions in high traffic situations.

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