Miami Shipper Antillean Marine Charged With Oil Pollution

Miami River shipping company Antillean Marine has been charged with knowingly dumping oil into U.S. waters, then falsifying its records to omit the offense, which could cost them more than $1.5 million in fines and put them on probation for years.

The drama is over the ship's bilge-cleaning equipment, which filters a mix of oil and water that normally builds up on ships during operation. The federal government requires large ships to have cleaning equipment that brings the oil content of the water down to safe levels before it's dumped overboard, but the Department of Justice says Antillean (which describes itself on its website as a "progressively innovative company with foresight and precision planning") knew their ship's equipment wasn't working and dumped the bilge anyway.

Then, the charges allege, Antillean falsified their oil record book -- another federally required measure that keeps track of all ship discharges. Antillean allegedly left records out of the book and then created completely fictional entries about its waste disposal.

The alleged offender is the Titan Express, a 260-foot cargo ship that ferries goods between Miami and Puerto Plata, a Dominican shipping port. The charges claim the boat did the illegal dumping on August 9 of last year, which, according to the company's online schedule, is the day it left Puerto Plata. The ship wasn't scheduled to arrive in Miami, around 750 miles away, for another three days, but the charges claim the oil was dumped "into the navigable waters of, and at a port and terminal under the jurisdiction of, the United States." The court did not reply to requests for clarification, nor did Antillean or their attorneys.

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