: News

Greek Shipping Company Fined for Dumping Oil, Whistleblowers Rewarded

Play associated audio
Coast Guard Investigator Matt Jones shows the cellphone used by a crew member to gather evidence used to tip off customs agents.
Sabri Ben-Achour
Coast Guard Investigator Matt Jones shows the cellphone used by a crew member to gather evidence used to tip off customs agents.

By Sabri Ben-Achour

A judge in Baltimore is fining a Greek shipping company millions for secretly dumping oil overboard from one of its ships.

The whistleblowers will get a big chunk of that money.

In January, after a 740-foot long cargo ship sailed into Baltimore's harbor one of the crew members slipped a customs agent a note.

"This is to inform you of illegal discharging of oily water from bilge tank," the note said, according to U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

The investigation that resulted from that tip found - and the company later admitted - the ship dumped 6000 gallons of sludge overboard, evidence was hidden, valves were repainted to hide tool marks.

Today a judge fined Irika Shipping $4 million - and, under a federal law, gave $500,000 to the four whistleblowers.

Richard Udell is a trial attorney with the Justice Department.

"Increasingly we have cases that are brought from whistleblowers who can receive up to one half of a criminal fine," Udell says.

A report by the Academy of Sciences from 2002 estimated about 65 million gallons of oil are dumped by boats at sea each year.

That's almost a third of the oil that leaked from BP's Gulf well this summer.

NPR

'Neither Snow Nor Rain' Celebrates History Of U.S. Postal Service

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with author Devin Leonard whose new book, Neither Snow Nor Rain, celebrates the history of the U.S. Postal Service.
NPR

How Starbucks Got Tangled Up In LA's Homelessness Crisis

There are 44,000 people living on the streets in and around L.A. With no other place to go, many end up at a Starbucks — to the consternation of some employees.
NPR

In Indiana, Donald Trump Looks To Cement Path To GOP Nomination

Voters in Indiana are at the polls Tuesday in a presidential primary that could largely determine the outcome of the GOP race, while Bernie Sanders fights on to influence Democrats.
NPR

Google And Fiat Chrysler Partner To Make Self-Driving Minivans

This is the first time Google has worked directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving technology into a passenger vehicle, the companies said in a joint statement.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.