The Federal Maritime Commission Newsroom

News

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Pays $1.2 Million in Penalties

May 19, 2011

NR 11-11

Contact: Peter J. King, Director, Bureau of Enforcement (202-523-5783)

Media Contact: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary (202-523-5725)

The Federal Maritime Commission announced a compromise agreement under which Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. has paid $1,200,000 in civil penalties. Known as MOL throughout the ocean carrier industry, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is a vessel-operating common carrier headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, that operates in the U.S.-foreign trades and globally.

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. stated: "These penalties should serve as a reminder that the Commission’s hard-working Area Representatives and Bureau of Enforcement remain vigilant on the shipping public’s behalf. If you’re violating the law, sooner or later, we will find you, and the consequences can be serious."

The compromise agreement resolved allegations that MOL violated numerous provisions of the Shipping Act through activities that included: (1) misdescription of commodities; (2) unlawful equipment substitution; (3) providing transportation services to and entering into service contracts with unlicensed, untariffed, and unbonded ocean transportation intermediaries; (4) permitting use of service contracts by persons who were not parties to those contracts; and (5) providing transportation that was not in accordance with the rates and charges set forth in MOL’s published tariffs. Commission staff alleged that these practices persisted over a period of several years and involved numerous service contracts.

Under the agreement, MOL has furnished the Commission with information and substantive documentation regarding the service contracts and shipments at issue. MOL also agreed to provide ongoing cooperation with any further Commission investigations or enforcement actions with respect to these activities.

In concluding the compromise agreement, MOL agreed to pay penalties and cooperate, but did not admit to violations of the Act or the Commission’s regulations. The compromise agreement resulted from investigations conducted by the Commission’s Area Representatives located in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. Staff attorneys with the Bureau of Enforcement negotiated the compromise agreement.

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer. The FMC’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.