Chief Engineer Indicted for Obstruction of Justice

Wednesday, October 12, 2005
An Indian national working as the Chief Engineer on the container ship M/V MSC Elena was indicted late yesterday by a federal Grand Jury and charged with conspiracy, obstruction, destruction of evidence, false statements and violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships in connection with the use of a secretly concealed "magic pipe" used to discharge sludge and oil contaminated waste overboard. Michael J. Sullivan, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts; Kelly A. Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division; and William Schenkelberg, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, announced the Grand Jury's Indictment of MANI SINGH, age 57, of India. According to the Indictment, bypass equipment, referred to as the "magic pipe" was used to circumvent required pollution prevention equipment. This bypass equipment was discovered by the U.S. Coast Guard during an inspection of the vessel in Boston Harbor on May 16, 2005. Chief Engineer Singh is charged in the I=indictment with making false statements to the Coast Guard denying knowledge about the existence and use of the bypass equipment, with obstructing justice by directing subordinates to lie to the Coast Guard, with concealing evidence, and with concealing the discharges in a falsified Oil Record Book, a required log in which all overboard discharges must be recorded. The Indictment further alleges that after the Coast Guard found bypass equipment hidden in a void space, SINGH directed that a printout from the ship's computer and a rough log of actual tank volumes be concealed in an effort to cover up the falsification of ship records. It is alleged that the Coast Guard inspectors were presented with fictitious logs containing false entries claiming the use of the Oil Water Separator and omitting any reference to dumping overboard using the bypass equipment. According to the Indictment, SINGH was the Chief Engineer on the MSC Elena, a Panamanian registered 30,971 ton container ship operated by MSC Ship Management (Hong Kong) Limited. The MSC Elena made regular voyages from ports in Europe across the Atlantic to ports in the United States, including Boston. Engine room operations on board large oceangoing vessels such as the MSC Elena generate large amounts of waste oil. International and U.S. law prohibit the discharge of waste oil without treatment by an Oil Water Separator - a required pollution prevention device. The regime also requires all overboard discharges be recorded in an Oil Record Book, a required log which is regularly inspected by the Coast Guard. The waste oil may be burned on board through the use of an incinerator or offloaded onto barges or shore side facilities for disposal. According to the Indictment, upon his taking over responsibility as Chief Engineer in March 2005, SINGH asked to be informed of the "magic pipe" arrangement on the MSC Elena and, once informed, directed that it be used to discharge waste overboard. It is alleged that both sludge and oil contaminated bilge waste were discharged overboard through the bypass equipment and without the use of the Oil Water Separator. If convicted, SINGH faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison on the Conspiracy charge, 5 years in prison on the Obstruction charge, 5 years in prison on the False Statements charge, 20 years in prison on the Destruction of Evidence charge, and 5 years in prison on the violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. The investigation is continuing. This investigation was conducted by the New England Regional Office of the Coast Guard Investigative Service with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Boston.
Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

QinetiQ Signs Contract with ASV

QinetiQ, as part of a new Marine Surface Target Service, has signed a contract with Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV) for the supply and operational support of autonomous surface target vessels.

GTT Wins DSME Order for 9 More Icebreaking LNGCs

Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT), a designer of membrane containment systems for the maritime transportation and storage of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), announced

Bollinger to Build 6 More FRCs for the USCG

Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., Lockport, Louisiana, announced the award of six additional USCG Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). The U. S. Coast Guard

Legal

House Subcommittee Hearing Highlights “Dismal State” of U.S. Icebreaking Capability

At the July 23, 2014, hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on “Implementing U.S. Policy in the Arctic” the committee chairman, Rep.

Iraqi Kurdish Oil Nears US Port Despite Concern in Washington

A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is just two days away from arriving at a U.S. port, according to ship tracking satellites, despite Washington's

Maritime NZ Oil Spill Response Review: Submissions

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says it invites submissions on its draft updated New Zealand Marine Oil Spill Response Strategy 2014 (the draft Strategy). The draft Strategy, (available at http://bit.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1237 sec (8 req/sec)