Tanker Chief Pleads to Virgin Islands Pollution

     (CN) – The Chief Engineer on a twenty six thousand ton chemical tanker pleaded guilty Tuesday to faking ships logs to hide the dumping of oil-contaminated bilge water into the ocean waters off St. Croix.




Spanish citizen and Chief Engineer on the M/T Nautilus, Carmelo Oria, ordered his ship’s crew members to bypass required environmental controls and pump oil-contaminated bilge water directly into the ocean without treatment by an oil-water separator. Crew members then falsified entries in the ship’s official oil record book to conceal their activities.
     Oria served as the tankers Chief Engineer between January and March of 2008 and was responsible for all engine room operations. The tanker is owner by Cyprus based Iceport shipping Company and operated by Spanish based Consultores de Navegacion S.A. The U.S Coast Guard conducted an examination of the tanker following its arrival in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and subsequently in the Port of Boston. The investigation found that the ship’s log, which Oria was responsible for maintaining, failed to disclose the overboard discharges of oil-contaminated bilge water.
     Douglas P. Woodlock , District Judge for the District of Massachusetts scheduled sentencing for April 13, 2009. Oria faces up to 6 years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
     This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda M. Ricci of Sullivan’s Economic Crimes Unit, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Jones of the U.S. Coast Guard First District Legal Office, and Trial Attorney Todd Mikolop of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section.

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