The United States has a long history of holding companies and individuals accountable for violating environmental laws and regulations, including the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). With the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), which implements MARPOL, United States government agencies continue to prioritize the protection of oceans and waterways from pollution. Although the number of environmental enforcement actions initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) between 2006 and 2018 has steadily decreased, Department of Justice (DOJ) enforcement actions, in collaboration with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), have remained steady despite the current COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, not only has DOJ taken an active interest in prosecuting United States-based companies, but DOJ has also exercised its jurisdictional powers to prosecute foreign-flagged vessels, their operators, and in some cases, third-party vessel managers for violations of environmental laws and regulations.
As published on MarineLink.com. Reprinted with permission.