Japanese Shipping Company Fined $1.5 Million for Concealing Illegal Discharges of Oily Water

Misuga Kaiun Co. Ltd. (MISUGA), a Japanese-based company engaged in international shipping, was sentenced yesterday in federal court before U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Byron in Orlando, Florida.

The company pleaded guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for failing to accurately maintain an oil record book that covered up discharges of oily water from the Motor Vessel (M/V) Diamond Queen. MISUGA was sentenced to pay a fine of $1.5 million, placed on probation for a period of four years, and ordered to implement a comprehensive Environmental Compliance Plan as a special condition of probation.

“The world’s oceans are an important natural resource,” said Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This prosecution demonstrates the department’s continuing commitment to protecting our ocean resources and upholding the rule of law.”

“Our oceans and waterways are essential to the health and balance of the world’s ecosystem,” said U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez for the Middle District of Florida.  “Those who act with reckless disregard for the safety of our environment by willfully polluting or contaminating it put everyone at risk, and will be held accountable for their actions.”

“The results announced today send a strong message to anyone who seeks to take shortcuts and intentionally pollute our environment,” said Rear Adm. Eric C. Jones, Commander Coast Guard District Seven.  “I am proud of the hard work and dedication of our marine inspectors from Marine Safety Detachment Cape Canaveral, as well as our special agents from Coast Guard Investigative Service Southeast Region, during a time when many may think we are distracted by the pandemic.  We will continue to work with our Department of Justice and environmental protection partners to hold accountable any who put profit above regulations, threaten our coastal ecosystems and jeopardize our waters and harbors for future generations.”

“The Coast Guard Investigative Service will continue to proactively investigate environmental crime, which costs our communities not only monetarily but also impacts the health and safety of our waterways, and all those who rely on them,” said Special Agent in Charge Zinnia James of the Southeast Region of the Coast Guard Investigative Service.

In pleading guilty, MISUGA admitted that the chief engineer onboard the M/V Diamond Queen, a 34,800 gross-ton, 656-foot ocean-going commercial bulk carrier, knowingly failed to record the overboard discharge of oily bilge water without the use of required pollution-prevention equipment.  The discharges occurred on multiple occasions, from approximately April 2019 until the vessel arrived in Port Canaveral, Florida, on May 22, 2020.  The chief engineer, Cloyd Dimapilis, also pleaded guilty to falsifying the oil record book, and was sentenced to one year of probation.   

According to the plea agreement, MISUGA operated the M/V Diamond Queen.  Prior to the ship’s arrival in Port Canaveral on May 22, a junior crewmember informed the U.S. Coast Guard that he had information about illegal discharges that had taken place on the vessel.  The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched Port State Control Examiners to conduct an inspection of the vessel. Examiners discovered evidence of the system that was used to discharge oily water from the vessel in order to bypass the vessel’s oily water separator.  

Senior Trial Attorney Kenneth Nelson of the Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Gardella of the Middle District of Florida are prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, Marine Safety Detachment Port Canaveral, and Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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    The Department of Defense (DOD) is closer to being able to use military code (M-code)—a stronger, more secure signal for the Global Positioning System (GPS) designed to meet military needs. However, due to the complexity of the technology, M-code remains years away from being widely fielded across DOD. M-code-capable receiver equipment includes different components, and the development and manufacture of each is key to the modernization effort. These include: special M-code application-specific integrated circuit chips, special M-code receiver cards, being developed under the Air Force Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) programs, and the next generation of GPS receivers capable of using M-code signals from GPS satellites. DOD will need to integrate all of these components into different types of weapon systems (see figure for notional depiction of integration for one system). Integration across DOD will be a considerable effort involving hundreds of different weapon systems, including some with complex and unique integration needs or configurations. Global Positioning System User Equipment Integration The Air Force is almost finished—approximately one year behind schedule—developing and testing one M-code card for testing on the Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and the Army Stryker vehicle. However, one card intended for use in aircraft and ships is significantly delayed and missed key program deadlines. The Air Force is revising its schedule for testing this card. The M-code card development delays have had ripple effects on GPS receiver modernization efforts and the weapon systems that intend to use them. For example, an Air Force receiver modernization effort that depends on the new technology will likely breach its schedule and incur additional costs because of the delay. In turn, DOD planned to incorporate that receiver into its F/A-18 fighter aircraft, AV-8B strike aircraft, and the MH-53E helicopter, but it no longer plans to do so because of the delay. DOD has not yet determined the full extent of the development effort to widely integrate and field M-code receivers across the department. The amount of additional development and integration work is expected to vary for each weapon system and could range from a few weeks to several years. DOD is taking steps to enable fielding modernized receivers that use M-code cards by working to identify integration and production challenges. DOD has been developing the capability to use its more jam-resistant military-specific GPS signal for 2 decades. The Air Force launched the first GPS satellite capable of broadcasting the M-code signal in 2005, but is only now completing development of the software and other equipment needed to use it. The GPS modernization effort spans DOD and the military services, but an Air Force program office is developing M-code cards for eventual production and integration into weapon systems. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 included a provision that the Air Force provide quarterly reports to GAO on next-generation GPS acquisition programs, and that GAO brief congressional defense committees. Since 2016, GAO has provided briefings and reported on various aspects of GPS. This report discusses DOD's progress and challenges (1) developing M-code receiver cards, and (2) developing receivers and taking other steps to make M-code-capable receivers available for fielding. GAO reviewed schedules and cost estimates for the Air Force's MGUE programs; military service and DOD M-code implementation data; and test and integration plans for aircraft, ships, and ground vehicles. GAO also reviewed strategies for continued access to microelectronics and interviewed officials from the MGUE programs, military services, and DOD, and representatives from microelectronics developers. For more information, contact Jon Ludwigson at (202) 512-4841 or ludwigsonj@gao.gov.
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  • U.S. Sanctions International Network Enriching Houthis in Yemen
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Four Charged in $32 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A medical director, operator and two unlicensed practitioners at a Texas medical clinic are now in custody on charges related to their alleged participation in a $32 million health care fraud scheme.
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    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Meeting on ISIS Threats in West Africa
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Former Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent and Task Force Officer Convicted of Conspiracy and Conversion of Property
    In Crime News
    A former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent and a former DEA task force officer were convicted Tuesday by a federal jury in New Orleans, Louisiana, in connection with a long-running scheme to steal personal property and money from individuals who had been arrested.
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  • Briefing with Consular Affairs Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services Julie M. Stufft on the Current Status of Immigrant Visa Processing at Embassies and Consulates
    In Crime Control and Security News
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    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Justice Department Awards over $9 Million to Combat Elder Fraud and Abuse
    In Crime News
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  • Six Men Charged for Roles in Scheme to Defraud Businesses of Luxury Goods and Services
    In Crime News
    Six men were charged in an indictment unsealed on Wednesday for their alleged participation in a nation-wide scheme to defraud dozens of businesses across the United States of luxury goods and services announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department's Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling of the District of Massachusetts.
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  • Federal Courts Participate in Audio Livestream Pilot
    In U.S Courts
    Thirteen district courts around the country will livestream audio of select proceedings in civil cases of public interest next year as part of a two-year pilot program.
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  • Judiciary Steps Up Calls to Enact Security Measures
    In U.S Courts
    Citing the latest act of violence this year, in which a judge's family and officers at two federal courthouses have come under attack, the Judiciary has stepped up its call to congressional leaders for a series of safety measures “to protect the safety of the public at our nation’s courthouses.”
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    In Justice News
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    In Travel
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