A US federal grand jury in Mobile, Alabama, has indicted a Norwegian-based shipping company Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab AS (DSD Shipping) and four of its engineering officers on seven counts, including the use of the so-called ‘magic hose’ on board the tanker M/T Stavanger Blossom back in 2014.DSD Shipping and the engineering officers were charged with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) for failing to record overboard discharges in the vessel’s oil record book and garbage record book and with obstruction of justice and witness tampering for presenting false documents and deceiving the US Coast Guard during an inspection. The indicted officers are Daniel Paul Dancu, 51, of Romania, Bo Gao, 49, of China, Xiaobing Chen, 34, of China, and Xin Zhong, 28, of China.According to the indictment, in 2014, DSD Shipping and its employees conspired to bypass pollution prevention equipment aboard the M/T Stavanger Blossom and to conceal the direct discharge of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water from the vessel into the sea. Should any overboard discharges occur, they must be documented in an oil record book, a log that is regularly inspected by the US Coast Guard. Despite these requirements, DSD Shipping and its employees used a bypass pipe to circumvent pollution prevention equipment and discharge waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water directly into the sea. DSD Shipping and its employees also filled plastic bags with waste oil from a sludge tank aboard the vessel and then discarded the oil-filled plastic bags overboard into the sea.The indictment further alleges that prior to an inspection by the US Coast Guard, Chen ordered crewmembers to remove the bypass pipe, install a new pipe and repaint the piping to hide the illegal discharges. Chen and Zhong then ordered crewmembers to lie to the US Coast Guard and instructed them to say that no plastic bags containing waste oil were discarded overboard, that all plastic bags remained aboard the vessel and to provide the incorrect quantity of bags generated from the cleaning of the sludge tank. To further hide the illegal discharges of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water, DSD Shipping and its employees maintained a fictitious oil record book that failed to record the disposal, transfer, or overboard discharge of oil from the vessel. The oil record book also contained false entries stating that pollution prevention equipment had been used when it had not.If convicted, DSD Shipping could be fined up to USD 500,000 per count, in addition to other possible penalties. Dancu, Gao, Chen and Zhong face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the obstruction of justice charges.
At the Immortality Auction that took place in November, seventeen authors auctioned off the names of characters in their upcoming novels.“The point of the Immortality Auction,” said author Julian Barnes, “is to raise money while giving pleasure.”Tracy Chevalier donated “a tough-talking landlady of a boarding house in the 1850s Gold Rush era San Francisco. The first thing she says to the hero is, ‘No sick on my stairs. You vomit on my floors, you’re out.’”Margaret Atwood’s donation was a choice between an appearance in the novel she is currently working on or in her 2016 retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, while Adam Foulds said, “Your name will find itself quite possibly in a contemporary setting and will meet an untimely end.”Adam Mars-Jones’ donation to the auction was the name of an unsavoury character she described thus: “You would cross the road to avoid this character, but reprobates are much more enjoyable.”Other authors who contributed characters to the auction were Pat Barker, Martina Cole, Sebastian Faulks, Ken Follett, Robert Harris, Alan Hollinghurst, Hanif Kureishi, Kathy Lette, Ian McEwan, Will Self, Zadie Smith and Joanna Trollope.£34,000 pounds was raised at the auction held at The Royal Institution. Proceeds will go to the charity Freedom From Torture, which provides therapies and support to torture survivors.Copyright ©2015Look to the Stars