U.S. Convicts Two Greek Companies and Engineers in Vessel Pollution Case

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday June 22, 2016

The U.S. District Court in Seattle has found ship operator Angelakos Hellas S.A., ship owner, Gallia Graeca Shipping LTD, chief engineer, Konstantinos Chrysovergis, and second engineer, Tryfon Angelou guilty on 12 felony counts related to the falsification of vessel logs and dumping of oily waste at sea from bulk carrier Gallia Graeca, local media reports.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) is said to have discovered that Gallia Graeca was operating with a non-functioning oily water separator in October 2015, and that on October 16, 26, and 27, 2015 the defendants bypassed pollution prevention systems to discharge an estimated 5,000 gallons of oily bilge water overboard.

The defendants are then said to have made false statements to USCG inspectors and presented a falsified oil record book in order to cover up the illegal discharge.

During the inspection, the vessel's engineers are said to have operated the oil water separator in such a way that the equipment appeared as if it was working properly, but further examination by USCG staff showed that the system had not been serviced in months and its filters were clogged.

Further, shipping company executives are said to have been in contact with the vessel's engineers in order to provide guidance on how to present the log book during USCG inspection.

"While the vast majority of vessel owners run a safe and environmentally conscious operation, this case demonstrates our willingness to hold people and organizations accountable for willfully violating U.S. laws and regulations," said Matt Edwards, Chief of the Prevention Department for the USCG's Sector Puget Sound.

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour is said to be scheduled to sentence the parties on September 16, 2016.

In March, the U.S. Department of Justice Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Florida, announced that German shipping companies, Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG (Briese) and Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co. KG MS "Extum" (Extum), who owned and operated the M/V BBC Magellan cargo ship, pled guilty and were sentenced to pay a total of $1.5 million for illegally discharging oil into the ocean.