The captain and two crew members on the M/V Katerina, a 16,320-ton cargo ship that arrived at the Port of Long Beach on September 10, were arrested this morning on federal pollution charges for allegedly dumping oil-contaminated waters into the Pacific Ocean.
A criminal complaint filed yesterday evening in United States District Court in Los Angeles specifically charges the trio with attempting to conceal the water pollution by maintaining log books that failed to note the tainted discharges.
The three arrested this morning are:
• Ioannis G. Kallikis, 64, of Greece, who was the master, or captain, of the Katerina;
• Edgardo A. Guinto, 49, of the Philippines, the chief engineer on the Katerina; and
• Rolan P. Sullesta, 42, of the Philippines, the second engineer on the ship.
All three defendants are scheduled to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in federal court in downtown Los Angeles.
The Katerina, which was carrying steel products, berthed on September 14. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, crew members contacted dock workers and reported that they had been directed to throw trash, as well as to discharge sewage and oil, into the ocean. A transport workers union representative contacted the Coast Guard and asked for an inspection of the vessel.
On the night of September 14, Coast Guard inspectors boarded the Katerina and saw evidence that the ship’s oil-water separator was not being used. Pursuant to United States law and international treaties, all large ships, such as the Katerina, are required to operate an oil-water separator to remove oil from bilge water that is discharged into the ocean. All ship are also required to maintain a “Oil Record Book,” which is signed by the captain and documents discharges.
A second inspection on September 15 revealed a pipe system to bypass the oil-water separator, according to the affidavit, and inspectors found evidence that oil had recently been discharged. In all, inspectors found 23 deficiencies or violations on the ship, including no operating toilets and no hot water.
The criminal complaint charges all three defendants with failing to properly maintain the Katerina’s Oil Record Book, making false statements to Coast Guard investigators and obstructing justice by falsifying records. Additionally, Kallikis is charged with obstruction of justice for instructing Guinto not to answer questions posed by Coast Guard investigators. If convicted of the charges, Kallikis could be sentenced to as much as 20 years in federal prison, and Guinto and Sullesta each would face maximum prison terms of 15 years.
An criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven.
This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division.