Rio Gold - Ilegal Dumping Sentence

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced that Casilda Shipping, Ltd., the Maltese company that owned the Rio Gold (a 23,000 ton ocean-going cargo ship registered in Malta); Genesis Seatrading Corporation, the Greek operating company; and Mr. Pantelis Thomas, the vessel’s Chief Engineer and a citizen of Greece, all pleaded guilty and were sentenced last week for conspiring to falsify waste oil disposal records related to the intentional disposal of waste oil into the ocean while in international waters.

Casilda Shipping, Ltd., was sentenced to pay a fine of $750,000 and to serve three years of probation. Genesis Seatrading Corporation was sentenced to serve three years of probation and to comply with an extensive three-year Environmental Compliance Plan. Mr. Thomas was sentenced to serve three years of probation and pay a $5,000 fine.

In pleading guilty, defendants admitted to their use of equipment—known in the trade as a “magic pipe”—to bypass the anti-pollution equipment on the ship. Defendants ordered the crew to illegally use the “magic pipe” to discharge waste oil directly into the ocean. Defendants concealed their illegal overboard discharges by making false entries and omissions into the ship’s on-board records. Vessels, like the Rio Gold, are legally obligated to maintain these records to verify their compliance with applicable maritime environmental laws and regulations.

The violations came to the attention of the U.S. Coast Guard after the Rio Gold docked in Oakland on May 26, 2008, when four crew members reported the illegal activities. A subsequent inspection of the Rio Gold uncovered the “magic pipe” disassembled and stored away, along with evidence of its consistent use.

Defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 9, 2008. The indictment alleged that the illegal dumping of waste oil into the ocean occurred beginning with the period the Rio Gold was first purchased in July 2007 and continued until shortly before the vessel docked in Oakland in May 2008.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, $250,000 of the fine amount will be paid to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for use in projects to restore the Northern California coast, and an additional portion of the fine amount will be paid to the four crew members who initially reported their employer’s misconduct to authorities.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken following guilty pleas by all three defendants to one count of conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and one count of intentionally failing to maintain an accurate oil record book in violation of 33 U.S.C. § 1908(a).

Stephen G. Corrigan and Wade M. Rhyne are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case with the assistance of Lieutenant Jeffery A. King and the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific JAG Office. The prosecution is the result of a five-month investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Francisco’s Port State Control Office.

(Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Northern District of California)

Maritime Reporter April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Truckers to Strike Four SoCal Shippers

Truckers who haul freight from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will go on strike against four ground-shipment companies on Monday, a Teamsters union official said,

Maritime Tension Dominates Southeast Asia Summit

Southeast Asian leaders edged closer to open criticism of China's land reclamation in the disputed South China Sea at a regional summit on Monday, as the Philippines

PSA Commissions new Dammam Terminal

Saudi Global Ports LLC (SGP), a joint-venture company formed between the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and PSA International (PSA)

Marine Propulsion

ExxonMobil Debuts Premium AFME 200

To help shipowners meet strict new emission mandates, ExxonMobil expanded its range of fuels for use within Emission Control Areas (ECA) with the introduction of

ABB's New Azipod Thruster

ABB has released details on its latest generation Azipod thruster, a unit which ranges in power from 1.6 megawatts to 7 megawatts (MW) and is intended to serve a growing electric propulsion market.

EPA Promotes Green Initiatives at Port of Houston

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy visited the Port of Houston April 24 to highlight grants aimed at improving air quality. The port will receive about $900,

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.1281 sec (8 req/sec)