Whistleblowers can report information about a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (“APPS”) and receive a reward under U.S. law. APPS implements the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (“MARPOL”). The law was enacted in the United States in 1980.
MARPOL is the main international convention covering pollutions from ships. It covers ocean dumping of oily waste and various other types of pollution from ships. Annex VI, which entered into force in 2005, covers sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions
APPS requires that oily waste pass through an oil water separator before discharge into the ocean. The oil must be stored until reaching port or incinerated. The operation must also be recorded in the oil record book on the vessel.
The problem targeted by the law, ocean dumping of oil and sludge, happens on between 10 to 15 percent of commercial ships on the ocean and was called “virtually an epidemic” by a Department of Justice prosecutor.
Without whistleblowers, it would be difficult for the government to learn of illegal oil dumping. Every year, sailors and engineers report the illegal dumping of oil to start or facilitate U.S. investigations of oil pollution in the ocean.
Whistleblowers may receive up to one-half of the fines collected under the statute. The whistleblower incentive was added to the law in 1987.
In 2012, following the successful resolution of another case, the New York Times declared “seafaring whistle-blowers” to be “one of prosecutors’ most potent weapons against maritime polluters ….”
In 2016, the United States fined Princess Cruises $40 million with the help of an engineer turned whistleblower. It was the largest fine ever under the law.
McEldrew Young attorney Brandon Lauria was co-counsel when a whistleblower received a reward of $250,000 in 2007 for reporting misconduct by a subsidiary of Conoco Phillips. To speak to Brandon about reporting oil dumping from a ship into the ocean or an inland waterway, call 1-800-590-4116.
Our Whistleblower Law Practice
Our whistleblower attorneys have helped numerous employees and ex-employees report misconduct by their employer under the nation’s whistleblower laws. Attorneys at McEldrew Young have assisted the United States with the recovery of billions of dollars lost due to fraud. If you are considering reporting a ship that has dumped oil overboard inappropriately, we encourage you to read more about our practice in this area, our track record, and call us if you have any questions. We’re here to help you and we will respect your confidentiality to the utmost at all stages of the process. Call us at 1-800-590-4116.