A US judge on Wednesday sentenced two ship engineers to prison time for obstructing a US Coast Guard (USCG) investigation of suspected water pollution and illegal dumping at sea.
The engineers, both Philippines citizens, were on Oceanfleet’s 2012-built general cargo vessel Ocean Hope when USCG officials inspected it in July 2015 in the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina.
The defendants were found to have lied to inspectors, instructed other crew to do the same and presented a doctored record book to cover up the fact that the vessel had used a bypass hose – known as a magic pipe – to illegally dump oil sludge and bilge water into the sea over a period of months.
US District Court Judge Malcolm Howard for the Eastern District of North Carolina gave second engineer Cassius Samson 12 months in prison to be followed by a year of supervised release.
Chief engineer Rustico Ignacio was given nine months’ prison time with a year of supervised release.
The pair had been convicted in September of conspiracy, witness tampering, obstructing justice and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.