A court in Greenville, North Carolina has convicted two Greek firms and two ship engineers for illegally discharging oily waste into US waters last year.
The two companies (Oceanic Illsabe Limited and Oceanfleet Shipping Limited) and the two individuals (Rustico Yabut Ignacio and Cassius Flores Samson) were found guilty of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), obstruction of justice, false statements, witness tampering and conspiracy.
It all relates to events on the general cargo ship Ocean Hope, co-owned by both companies, in June 2015 when chief engineer Ignacio and second engineer Samson used a so-called “magic pipe” to circumvent the oil-water separator. They also falsified the ship’s oil record book. They also pumped oily water from the vessel’s bilges directly into the ocean and instructed crew members to lie to US Coast Guard investigators.
Each company could be fined $500,000 for each count on which they are convicted. And the engineers face a possible 20-year prison term for obstruction of justice.