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Ships’ Engineers Indicted for Conspiring to Illegally Discharge Oil at Sea

Release Date: 12/23/2003
Contact Information:


Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 / ackerman.suzanne@epa.gov

(12/23/03) Three engineers who served aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) S.S. Norway were indicted on Dec. 18 for alleged violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS). The defendants, Chief Engineers Knut Sorboe and Peter Solemdal, and Senior First Engineer Aage Lokkebraten, are alleged to have conspired to falsify oil record books, dump oil illegally at sea and conceal the illegal discharge. The defendants, who are all Norwegian nationals, allegedly used fresh water to trick an oil sensor that limits overboard oil discharges. The discharges were reported to EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) through a tip from a former NCL engineer. Upon learning of the tip, the cruise line company cooperated fully with federal agencies in their investigation. In July 2002, NCL pled guilty to violating the APPS and agreed to pay both a $1 million fine and $500,000 for environmental community service projects in south Florida. The tipster was also awarded $250,000 under APPS’ bounty provision. Dumping oily bilge waste into the ocean can harm fish and other aquatic life. The case was investigated by the Jacksonville Area Office of EPA’s CID, the Coast Guard Investigative Service, the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, the FBI, the Miami-Dade Police Department Environmental Investigations Unit and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Division of Law Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.