Report received from a member of the engine room crew on a ship where deliberate acts of pollution were allegedly carried out on a nightly basis.
What the Reporter told us:
I have observed every MARPOL violation on my ship. At night, the crew throw overboard every kind of waste oil, sludge, bilges, used rags and other garbage including plastic and cans. The oily water separator and incinerator do not work, but at annual surveys they manage to pay a bribe to the surveyor for clear reports. Chief Engineer told to do these things as ordered by the Master. I have proof of crane waste oil being dumped in the Black Sea.
The reporter further stated that a large fee had been paid by himself to a seafarer’s employment agency to secure his berth on the ship.
NOTE: The reporter’s vessel is on both the Paris MOU Black List and Tokyo MOU Grey List, (indicating a flag with a high detention rate following inspection, and being considered high risk), and was trading in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea. There was a photograph attached to the report, but it was inconclusive – whilst there was obviously some pollution astern, there was nothing to identify the vessel.
The reporter mentioned that the owner of the ship also owned two other vessels and that on each ship 4 or 5 seafarers from his home country had paid up to $8000 for a berth and were being used as oilers and wipers rather than in their designated positions. The reporter was very concerned about his safety and that of the other seafarers on board the three ships.
CHIRP advised the reporter that seafarer’s welfare and financial abuse issues were best dealt with by the ITF and ISWAN and offered to pass on his report to either or both organisations but only with the reporter’s express instruction, which in this case was not given.
CHIRP contacted the flag state administration of the reporter’s ship and received an immediate response. Subsequently the administration notified CHIRP that one of their inspectors attended the named vessel and carried out an inspection to ascertain the validity of the report. The inspection found no evidence to support the reporter’s allegations and in every way the vessel appeared to be operating in compliance with the appropriate rules and regulations.
The members of the MAB noted the following:
- the prompt and positive engagement by the flag state administration should be highlighted and commended.
- the fact that a flag state inspection was carried out in response to the report forwarded by CHIRP is also worthy of note.
- the inspector’s report recorded no evidence of pollution but that alone does not prove that acts of pollution did not take place, just that no evidence was found.
- for the sake of good order, a dis-identified copy of the initial report should be passed to EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) for their attention because they have access to satellite monitoring facilities with hours of darkness capabilities. This has been done.