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tv   Earth Focus  LINKTV  March 6, 2017 7:30am-8:01am PST

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narrator: today on "earth focus"... spills like the bp disaster in the gulf get the headlines, but they're a fraction of the problem. the new film, "oil in our waters," exposes illegal oil dumping in the shipping industry. director micah fink explains. coming up on "earth focus." [indistinct radio transmissions] richard: to any authorities concncerned: this is to inform u of illegal discharging of oily water frfrom bilge tanank, which happened last december 14
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and 17, 2009. the chief engineer instructed as to make a bypass flange to discharge oily watater oveverbo. we are asking help to any authorities concerned about this, because we must protect our environment and our marine lives. sincely yours, the engine department. this is an image that comes from a satellite. it shows a ship and it shows the path of oil behind that ship. aerial surveillance shows an oil slick in the wake of a ship. this is side-looking airborne radar. here's the ship. there's the oil. and lastly, that's oil streaking on the side of the ship, called a comet streak.
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this is evidence of a crime. the ship is underway, so only some of it sticks to the side of the ship. the rest of that oil is in the ocean. it's with the fish, it's with the sea birds, it's with the turtles, with the dolphins, the whales. joanna: because water covers so much of the earth, people have always thought of it as endless. but in fact, anything that gets into the ocean remains there. news announcer: the coast guard estimates crude oil, at the ra of 8,000 barrels a day, could be spilling into the open sea. second news annonouncer: now auauthorities are woworried abot an environmental catastrophe. news announcer: bp oil, which
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leases the platform and the coast guard have at least 35 containment vessels dispatched to the area... third news announcer: more than 11 million gallons of crude oil poured into the sea when tanker "exxon valdez," bound for... joanna: most peoeople, when they think about the environment, they worry about the big accidents and forget that anywhere from a third to half of the oil that's in the ocean didn't come from these accidents. it came from the intentional release of oil by ships. john: oil is toxic to organisms and it can be toxic in several ways. this is a gross image. you know, when you coat something wit oil like that, it's going to die. that's not what we're cononcerned w with. we are concerned with what happens with those lesser concentrations that you can't
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see may have very y big effects on developing organisms. that's ththe concern n that we e faced with. this is a picturure of pink saln embryos, and it was exposed to a high concentraration of oil. and you can see the expansion of this area around the yolk sack. the toxins in oil,l, as you see here, can cause many of the same kinds of defects in ororganisms as are caused by oftentimes considered to be more seserious chemicals like t those in pcbs d like dioxins. joanna: i think that as a society, we first became aware of oil pollution when there was a very large oil spill called torrey canyon. and the torrey canyon was the biggest oil spill that we'd ever had. newsreel narrator: a tragedy such as britain has never experienced before. every tide left a thick covering of oil, to which detergent was applied with all speed. there's 50,000 tons of oil still
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on board, defiantly menacing the whole south coast of england, possibly even the coast of france. but now the decision was takeken. the torrey canyon was to be bombed. for the pilots it would be not target practice but bombing for defense, to save part o of the country from a a w memenace. joanna: essentiaially, we woke p to the fact that oilil had a cot as well as a benenefit. we suddenly realized d this is an internatitional problem. it's a problem that we can't deal with by justst dealing with one coununtry. it has to be anan international treaty, and marpol was the response to that. richard: marpol's an international treaty whose purpose was the complete elimination of intentitional pollution n of the marine envivironment byby oil and other harmful susubstances. this is a treaty that is successful in terms of the number of countries
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that have signed on, but in terms ofof enforcement and the level of v violation, , much less successful.l. deliberate pollution from ships occurs every day. it's a virtual epidemic. internrnational shippg is what makes modern commerce work in the world. so most of the corporate players, the individuals that are involved in international shipping, fly, frankly, under the radar. the u united states s clearly a world leader in enforcing marpol. james: you would think the no-brainerer is don't dumpml ininto the water. unfortununate, there are people out there that ststill illegally dudump oil overboard. it's my job to stop it. i've been with thehe coast guard 17 1/2 years now. we go out and
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do inspections every day. captain: hello, welcome aboard. james: good morning, captain. jim kline, united states coast guard. captain: captain. man: good morning, captain. james: what we would like to do from here, captain, is we'll do an examination down in the enginene spaces. captain: ok. james: we'll actually go down and do a visual inspection of the equipment and then w we'll have them do a a operational te. and that tells us whether or not they understand their equipment, they know how to use it, and if it''s opoperating g correctly. the inspectorsrs are kinind of e the work horse. we understand the equipment, we understand the process, we understand the laws. we're making sure that they're in complianance with marpolol. richard: large commercial vessels have waste oil. it's part of how ththey work.k. james: you can't just take that and dump it over the side. that has to be put into a holding tank that will later be sent shoreside to a facility.
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richarard: any overboard dischae has to be through a popollution prevention machine called an oily war r separatotor. jajames: once you get it up to speed, if you could just give me a minute t to take a looook arod bebefore we put in... well, , marpol says s if you're gonna dump oil, it has to rurun through filtering equipment which won't allow more than 15 parts per million oil over thehe side of the ship. richard: o oil becomes visible around 100 parts per million. if you can see oil in the water, if you can see an oil slick, you know that it's a violation of marpol. james: they were having a hard time getting that oily water separator going. it wasn't operating the way it should. man: here we go. ok, restart it. it's hitting clear water, it's coming down. james: other than finding that their equipment was having a hard time getting started operating correctly, we want to
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check the alarms and sound system so when it does fail or when it does go above 15 parts per million and it shuts down, itit gives the operatiting statn an a alarm. and d the alarm wa't working prproperly. just tooanyy red flags. so from there, we're gonna start getting a little bit more involved with the process and we''re g gonna lead d it to the distririct attorney so thatt this way we can n make sure there's s no criminal actitivity going g on. richard: if a ship is unlawfully dumping, if they're putting their oil in the ocean and that ship comes to the united states, there are rerecords aboard mosot ships that are going to allow criminal investigators to piece the crime together. james: this officer's going to rereview your chart and sosome r brididge items. i'm gonna review the oil record book. the oil record book that they maintain onboard, it's really to show w where oil's going from the time they take it onboard the vessel to the time it's off. it's likeke following the money. so we want to fofollow the oil.e
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want t to make sure that e ever- just about e every ounce of thtt oil is accountnted for. richard: obviously, nobody's writing down, "we're dumping overboard today." one of the early cases that i prprosecuted was royal caribbea, one of the largest cruise ships in the worldld, cruise l lines n the world. and the norwegian engineers had a a name for this book. they called it the inventor bok, which in norwegian meanant the fairytalae book. because it was a book of lies. it wasn't a book of the trtruth. and when you come o the united states, this is a condition of port entry. you can't have a ship that doesn't have this book. so if you come here and your oil record book has been falsified, it's missing all the overboard d dumping,g, t doesn't have it in here, the e people who are responsible for that will go to jail, and the company that's responsible for that is going to pay a huge fine. james: it's over almost 12
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hours. captptain: oh, that t was the sp time. james: right. you start at 08:35. captptain: yes. james: ok. and that was your position at stop time, right. captain: yes, yes. jajames: essenentially for us, f somebody comes across oily water, we can see if they passed through that area, if it's a possibility that they discharged oilil. every oil has a unique fingerprint. great. if we match it up, i it's s prin time for someone.. richard: it's hard to think of any other industry where there's an environmental crime that's so prevalent, so common. on ships, there's often a culture that not anything that i could possibly do would injure the ocean. but we know that it does. john: oil is widely distributed in the environment. but in the mid-water, in the center of an ocean, you
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could expect the chemicals to be as low or perhaps lower than almost any other place on earth. so what's happening in this area? and this we are very interested in determining. if ships, for example, are passing over the center of f the north atatlc and should happen to discharge oil of somome kind, some of it could fall through the mid-water. so one could ask, do you fish in this mid-water region? can n you tell me ifif you've been exposed? and lo anad bebehold, most of them we looked at showed us a change that would suggest they had been exposed to some chemical. so now the question is, can there b be bad effects as a result of the exposure? for many kinds of chemicals, when they are taken into the body, the body has a way of reacting, and that
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reaction is by making more of the enzyme that will metabolize those chemicals. it happens lalargely as a way for the organism to protect itself. this enzyme is the principle one that is produced in response to exposure to oil. with an enzyme like this, things move in and out. here the change would take place, and that change can be carcinogenic. the irony is that in the transformation of something like benzoapyrene, bicep 1a is referred to as a double edge sword. it cuts two ways. one is protection and the other is damage that can result from the metabolites produced. [birds squawking] joanna: what's really becoming clear to scientists is that therere's no place in n the word nonow that is pristine b because
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we're puttiting in every day toxins and oil and other pollutants into the water. those are sprereading throughout the oceans. so t there's no pristine place left anymore. richard: we hoped to have been out of this busineness by now. the department of justice, we've been prosecuting thehese cases r about 20 years now. anand yet, year after year after year after year, we continue to get criminal cases referred to us by the coast guard. james: from my experience, the most common form of cheating is what we call a magic pipe.. ralplph: a magic pipe coululd be a hose. it couldld be a pipe. it could be a painted pipe. james: that will transport oil
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directly from say a a holding tk or a bilge right around the oily water separating equipment, right into the ocean. ralph: that magic item that we find, , it's, uh-h-uh, we gotot. richard: this is what's called a magic pipe. that is a term of art that somehow has arisen in the industry. and i think the reason originally, at least i've been told, is because the oil magically disappears.. in any criminal enterprise, somebody who's breaking the law is doing math. it's a calculation, rigight. chance'm going to get caught, cnce i'm not going to get caught. people are still making the calculation that this crime is sometimes wortrth it. in environmental crimes cases, we don't have to prove motive. don't have to prove why somebody
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did it. but it is what every juror r and every judge e wantso know. ralph:h: from my experience,e, the motivation out there to pump oil in the water comes from greed.d. james: it's always about moneye. follow the money. richard: the united states is the only country that has a whistleblower award. on a ship, it's a small space, and people know what's taking place in that space. "fabrication of pipe connected to overboard as per instruction of first engineer." the osg case began with a foreign ferral. canada suspected that the ship was dumping, and they were right. but in our investigation, one ship led to another ship to another ship. and 12 osg ships were found to be involved in illegal conduct. to have a company this
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large, a publicly tradeded company, a company headquartered in the uniteted states o of ame, engaged in this type of criminal cocondt was shocking to o us. oe the investigation began, we interviewed crew members on the ship. and one of those crew members came forward and he had tucked underneath his arm a little black notebook.e was the fitter of the ship, and he was asked to build a bypasss system. he w was so angrgry abot having to make the pipe, he recorded every time that they dumped overboard. "before we left the port of boston, around 4:00 to 5:00 pm, i started pumping out the slop from the tank in which the said action is against marpol." and he received over $400,000 in the case. this was a case that resulted in a $37 million penalty.e certainly hope we are sending a message to
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mariners and to o the industry that this crime is taken v very seriously in t the united state. james: if you like prison, go ahahead and dudump oil in the w. if you donon't like prison, dont do i it. richard: i think what this shows is that it's a small world out there. if you're dumping on the high seas, if you're dumping in another country's waters, there are ways for us to find out. at the same time, we're prosecuting only the tip of the iceberg, only the tip. the problem is greater than we know, and we know w it's a a grt big problem. joanna: we may think we're e momost important lin b but in fact, we're only one link in a very large interconnected ecosystem. if the ecosystems around us that we care about are gonna survive in this world, we have to start stopping the things that we can stop. dumping a little bit of
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oil in the ocean may not seem like much to them, but when all the ships are dumping a little bit of oil, it adds up. and we need to o stop that. miles: micah fink, why did you make a f film called " "oil in r waters"? micah: we're becoming more aware of the impacts o of our polluti, toxic waste, plastic, anand oiln our environment, but there's really verery little information about whwhat actually happens wn oil gets d dumped into the wate. sosoe wanted t to make this film both to raise awareness about the issue of intentional dumping, which it turnrns out is respsponsible for half of alll the oil that goes into the water
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from human sources. working from that amazing fact, we ststartedo do some research aroround it and we realized that that inintentional dumpmping is bothh illegal and incredibly damamagig to the ecosystem and to the environment. miles: what is the scope of the problem? people are used to heararing about oioil spills frm the "exxxxon valdez"z" or abouot the recent spill in the gulf of memexico that british pepetrole illing provoked. you're talalking ababout a whole different set tf problems. how do they compare with those big s spills? micah: it's a great question. i think we all get our attention awn to the big dramatic moment. explosion of an oil rig, the sinking of a giant oil tanker. but in fact, over time, if you look at the total cumulative effect of that, it's only about 20% of the oil that goes into the ocean from humuman sources. the much larger component is this relar,
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everyday, intentional dumping overboard, getting rid of oil, waste products, sludge. ships--commercrcial shships teno burn very low-grade oil, and ththat produceces this messy sl. and the question is, what do you do with ththat? well, by law, you're supposed to bring it to port, you're supposed to offload it. it takes time, i it takes money, it takes energy to properly dispose of this stuff. or, if you're not trying to obey the e law, youan just dumpmp it overboard, which the shippers believe save them time and money. mariners traditionally have dumped everything into the ocean. there's been the belief that the ocean's this vast, wide place that you can't really damage, that the water will just mitigate the impact of anything that's put in. but we live in a time where we're dumping so much material into the waters, whether it's pollution, whether it's waste oil, whether it's toxic waste, whether it's garbage, that the oceans have almost reached a capacity, they've reached their capacity to absorb
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the stuf and now it's just always in the water. and when you look at the wildlife, when you look at the fish, when you look at the mammals, you can almost always find signs that they've been exposed to these toxins. and that should really be concerning to everybody. mimiles: allll right, we're not talking about littering here, we're talking about criminal acvivity, aren''t we? micah: the act of dumping oil overboard is a crimeme, but more particularly, marpol requires that mariners keep track of all the oion their ships. and so another crime is presenting to an american federal agent a falsified document. and it turns out that most of the cases that happen come about as a result of that. they may not be able to identify exactly where the crime took place or when the crime took place, but through often whistleblower reports showing pictures of magic pipes, which is the term that they use for creating a pipe that puts the oil in the water, or through actutually photos of dumping, um, they're able to show that the records are actually falsified, and that
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becomes the crime that the justice department is actually able to litigate againsnst and bring large fines to. i ththink the fis fofor illegal dumping can range up to half a million dollars per incident. and we looked at one case called osg, the overseas shipping group, and it turned out that that's an american-based company that had been dumping oil all around the continental u.s. um, when the justice department went after r them, they interviewed crew members and they found that 12 ships had regularly been dudumping as a regularar practi, and they were fined $37 million for that act of pollution. miles: whistleblowers s are reay the key to enforcement here, aren't they? micah: in the osg case, there were a number of whistleblowers, and each of them got about $400,000. so the fines are significant and the rewards paid out to the whistleblowers are significant. you have to remember that ships are very tight, small spaces and that while the chief engineer may not
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be a whistleblower, there are half a dozen crew people who are always in the engine rooms, who are seeing what's going on, and those are the ones who are paid 20,000 or $30,000 a year for their services. and d most f them don't want to pollute. there's no interest in harming the envivironment or in breaeakg the law, a and so that's whwhere a lot of thehese cases are comig fromom. miles: suppose s somebody's in a saililboat or a fishing boat d they see somebebody dumping oil, how do they report it? micah: according to the law, y u can't put more than 15 parts per millioion of oil in the water. l becomes visible at 100 parts per million. so if you seen an oily sheen, if you seen an oily patch, that is by definition a crime. so what can you do? well, as part of this project, we also created an app for the smart phones, which you can have on your phone which lets you very easily report an oil spill. you can take a picture,
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you can fill out a little app form, and you can submit it and it'll go to us, and we willass it along to the coast guard and to the national response center. i think building consciousness, buildingng awareness, building awareness partly that it's a crime in this country and that ships can pay big penalties and be banned from american ports, that's huge 'cause we're an enormous market. i mean, that's one of the powers that we have as a nation is our economic power. and if we restrict you from coming here, then the shipping company will lose a lot of money, but the other part is by creating g an awarens of this issue, you create ripples of awareness. and those ripples will go fafar beyond our country. you k know, we e now le in a very globalized world. people will see, can hear ababot these impacts. i mean, that's the power of the film is to actually show people how oil impacts marine life, how oil impacts the ocean. and there's a cultural shift taking place where people are becoming more aware of the impacts and are starting to resist it, starting
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to say, you know what, we don't have to do ts. this is intentional l dumping, this is intentional pollution, maybe we should stop. qéaos3w3wñovp
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03/06/17 03/06/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! pres. trump: you see what is happening at the border. we are getting gang members out. we are getting really bad dudes out of this country. amy: as president trump talks about supporting druglords and bad dudes, we will look at a shocking new proposal to separate immigrant mothers from their children if they crossed the border together without authorization. plus, we go to los


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