Maritime environmental management systems: Beyond compliance

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Courtesy of ABS Consulting

For shipping companies, implementing an environmental management system (EMS) could be the most important preventative measure taken, and the cost of not acting could be detrimental.

Failure to comply with the provisions of international environmental protection laws (such as the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships or MARPOL) and national laws (such as the Clean Water Act) can result in massive fines and possible jail terms. Increased vigilance by the European Union, the U.S. Coast Guard and many state port authorities has led to several recent high-profile prosecutions of shipping companies and individuals.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is committed to protecting the environment and natural resources. Since 1998, its environmental crimes section imposed nearly $180 million in penalties and obtained sentences totaling 25 years of jail time for polluters violating the Clean Water and Oil Pollution Acts. Operators have been denied contracts with government agencies because they have had pollution incidents.

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