Shashank Pendse, a citizen of India
and Chief Engineer on the ship M/V Spring Drake; MMS Co., Ltd, a Japanese company that manages the ship; and Grus Line Shipping S.A.
, the Panamanian company that owns the ship; were all indicted on Feb. 6 in on charges that allege they dumped oil at sea, obstructed justice and made false statements. In Aug. 2003, the Spring Drake was docked in Portland to pick up a load of grain when it was inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard
. The indictment alleges that the ship dumped oil and oily sludge at sea through a pipe that bypassed the ship's pollution control equipment
, the defendants attempted to conceal evidence of the illegal oil discharges
, and they made false entries in the ship's Oil Record
Book. The release of oil at sea can harm fish and wildlife. The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office in Portland, Ore., the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Portland Area Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division with assistance from the Washington Department of Ecology
. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland, Ore. An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless or until they are proven guilty in a court of law. (Source: HK Law)