Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chief Engineer of Oil-Dumping Vessel Sentenced

The chief engineer of a cargo vessel that ordered the illegal dumping of oil-contaminated waste into the ocean was sentenced Friday to three years probation by a US District Court judge.

Dimitrios Dimitrakis, chief engineer of the 26,000-ton bulker M/V New Fortune, was also assessed $5,100 in fines by the court.

The case stems from a February boarding of the Marshall Islands-flagged New Fortune by the United States Coast Guard for a routine inspection as the vessel arrived in the Bay Area for a call at the Port of Oakland.

Coast Guard inspectors found the vessel had been outfitted with a bypass tube that allowed ship personnel to circumvent the vessel's waste storage and treatment equipment and dump oil-contaminated waste material directly in the ocean. Further inspection revealed that the bypass piping, which is illegal under US and international law, had recently been used.

Inspectors also found false entries in the vessel's Oil Record Book, where all transfers or overboard discharges of sludge, oil-contaminated waste, and bilge water are supposed to be logged.

The operator of the New Fortune, Greek-based Transmar Shipping Co., was ordered by a US District Court judge last month to pay a $850,000 in fines related to the case. The vessel's second engineer, who pleaded guilty to the charges related to the false Oil Record Book entries, was also sentenced to two years probation and fined $700.