Speaking Up to Keep Our Land Clean
On a recent routine Coast Guard inspection of a Maltese cargo ship docked in Baltimore, a brave third engineer secretly passed a note to the chief inspector. Inside the note, he revealed that the crew of the boat were illegally dumping oily water and sludge overboard, a fact the Coast Guard officer would never have known without being explicitly told. The crewmember, now considered a "whistleblower" also had photographic and video evidence to back up his claim. The ship's operators ended up pleading guilty to several charges, including obstruction of justice, and will pay $1.2 million in penalties and fines.
While it's scary to think that shipping and manufacturing companies would show such blatant disregard for the environment, risking the safety of local animal life and potentially impacting the health of individuals who live in the region, large companies are notorious for taking part in such activities when they think no one is looking.
Thus, the role of the whistleblower has become ever more important. Just as in the case of the Maltese cargo ship, inspectors and safety guards cannot see everything that goes on in and around factories and ships. Only the workers who are there every day, and see the true scale of a facility's operations, are in a position to understand whether illegal activity is occurring. Though they may put themselves at risk by reporting on the activities of their employers, they are performing a great public service by protecting public health and the environment.
If you are aware of illegal or potentially dangerous activities occurring at your place of work, and are considering making a report to the authorities, you need to speak with an attorney. The law protects whistleblowers from punishment, and a skilled offshore injury lawyer can advise you on your best course of action. Contact an offshore injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today for a free and confidential consultation.