Pollution at Sea

Whistleblowers Under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships

Resources for Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers are the key to preventing illegal oil and waste pollution in our oceans. Of the thousands of ships at sea every day, up to 15% will knowingly pollute by ignoring and bypassing regulations. Far away from official oversight and in international waters, the only people who can prevent this from happening are the courageous whistleblowers who report this behavior. Those who are brave enough to draw attention to violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (“APPS”) or the MARPOL Protocol can be compensated with up to 50% of the monetary penalties that the United States Government receives from the guilty parties.

Here are cases in which whistleblowers have been rewarded for their courage and their aid in preventing ocean pollution. In many of these cases, the fines and penalties disclosed have been used to serve the public interest and fund environmental groups and organizations.

If you would like to consult a skilled attorney for help on your case, please fill out the form here.



The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (“APPS”) authorizes U.S. Courts to award whistleblowers with substantial sums. This law covers violations of international law, including the MARPOL Protocol and the Antarctic-Environmental Protocol (also known as the Madrid Protocol). “In the discretion of the Court, an amount equal to not more than 1⁄2 of such fine may be paid to the person giving information leading to conviction.” 33 U.S.C. § 1908(a). 

Other Materials 

Other Links


Stephen Kohn leads a panel at the Environmental Law Institute to discuss the important role whistleblowers play in enforcing environmental laws such as APPS.

Whistleblower Attorneys

Stephen M. Kohn – Founding Partner

Michael D. Kohn – Founding Partner

David K. Colapinto – Founding Partner

Mary Jane Wilmoth – Managing Partner

Todd Yoder – Associate Attorney

Kelsey Condon – Associate Attorney

Maraya Best – Associate Attorney

Siri Nelson – Legal Fellow

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