Shipping Corporation and Two Engineers Convicted in ‘Magic Pipe’ Case

Marinelink.com
Friday, August 09, 2013

Diana Shipping Services S.A., a Panamanian corporation headquartered in Greece, Ioannis Prokakis and Antonios Boumpoutelos, both citizens of Greece, were convicted after an 12-day bench trial on charges related to the illegal discharge of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water from the M/V Thetis, a cargo vessel operated by Diana Shipping Services, announced Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Otis E. Harris, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Chesapeake Region, and David G. McLeod, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program for the Middle Atlantic States.

All the defendants were convicted of conspiracy, knowing failure to fully maintain an oil record book, falsification of records and concealing tangible objects in a federal investigation. In addition, Prokakis was also convicted of obstruction of justice for ordering crewmembers to lie to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors on board the ship. The guilty verdicts were handed down by U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis of the Eastern District of Virginia.

“The pollution of our oceans, the falsification of environmental records, and lying to the U.S. Coast Guard are serious crimes,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Dreher. “Companies and individuals that intentionally attempt to cover up these crimes and obstruct U.S. Coast Guard investigations, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“These defendants not only violated the law when they illegally discharged contaminated waste into our waters, but then conspired to cover up their nefarious conduct,” said United States Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “Those who choose to continue to violate the law, even after being confronted, will find themselves in the same, serious trouble as these defendants.”

“The Coast Guard protects not only the environment of our nation, but the world’s,” said Capt. John Little, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. “Our Port State Control Teams board thousands of vessels annually to ensure compliance with U.S. law, regulations, and international treaties on pollution prevention. This case affirms the strength of our partnerships with the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our Coast Guard Investigative Service in holding accountable those vessel operators who deliberately discharge oil and falsify ship records.”

“The oceans must be protected from shipping companies that cut corners and dump waste improperly,” said David G. McLeod, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program for the Middle Atlantic States. “The defendants conspired to discharge oily waste from the M/V Thetis into the open water, falsified the ship’s record books and attempted to thwart the investigation. Today's guilty verdict should send a clear message that our collaborative efforts will lead to the vigorous prosecution of those who despoil our oceans and violate our nation’s environmental laws.”

Diana Shipping Services, S.A. faces a maximum fine of $5.5 million and five years of probation. Prokakis and Boumpoutelos face a maximum sentence of five years for the conspiracy conviction, six years per failure to maintain an oil record book conviction, and 20 years per falsification of record conviction. Prokakis faces an additional five year sentence for obstruction of justice. All three defendants will be sentenced on Nov. 8, 2013.

Diana Shipping Services S.A., Prokakis, and Boumpoutelos, were indicted on May 22, 2013, in an 11-count superseding indictment alleging the illegal discharging of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. In September 2012, crewmembers of the M/V Thetis, a cargo vessel operated by Diana Shipping Services, reported that the vessel was discharging its bilge waste and sludge illegally by various means, including a “magic pipe” that bypassed the oily water separator. Coast Guard inspectors boarded the vessel when it entered port in Norfolk and discovered the “magic pipe” and that the oily water separator was non-functioning. The inspectors were also presented with an oil record book that contained false entries made by the ship’s Chief Engineer, Ioannis Prokakis and the Second Engineer Antonios Boumpoutelos. During the inspection, Prokakis lied to inspectors about the “magic pipe” and told other members of the engineering crew to not disclose its existence to the Coast Guard inspectors.

The case was investigated by the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the EPA’s Criminal Investigations Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph L. Kosky of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Kenneth E. Nelson of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
 

Maritime Reporter August 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

Panama Canal Generates VER Carbon Credits

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) informs it has certified Verified Emission Reductions (VERs) or carbon credits, within the framework of the Sustainable Forest

Fortum Buys Stake in Wave Power Startup

Finland's top utility, state-controlled Fortum, on Monday said it has acquired a 14 percent stake in Finnish wave energy developer Wello. Wello has developed

Cavernous Swiss Power Plant Undermined by Renewable Energy

Deep in a Swiss mountain, workers have blasted out a cathedral-sized hole for a power plant that will help keep Europe's lights on, but the profit outlook for the 1.

News

USCG, National Park Service Rescue Sea Turtle

Members from the U.S. Coast Guard and National Park Service rescued a loggerhead sea turtle Sunday in Oregon Inlet. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina

Bulk Equipment is Delivered to Syzran Refinery

A reactor and a cold high-pressure separator is delivered to the site of Rosneft subsidiary Syzran Refinery for the constructed diesel hydro-treater. The unit

Achinsk Refinery Resumes Operation on Tight Schedule

Achinsk Oil refinery, suspended after the incident of June 15, 2014 has recovered the processes of primary crude oil processing on a tight schedule, according to the plan of repair activities.

Coast Guard

USCG Medevacs Mariner in Port Alexander, Alaska

The Coast Guard medevaced an 87-year-old female reportedly suffering from complications associated with a lower back injury aboard the fishing vessel Annie B in Port Alexander, Sunday evening.

USCG Responds to Plane Crash 51 mi SE Of Chincoteague Island, VA

The Coast Guard is responding to a plane crash Saturday approximately 51 miles southeast of Chincoteague Island.   Watchstanders at the Coast Guard 5th District

USCG Repatriates 86 Migrants

Coast Guard crews aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Charles David Jr. and the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant repatriated 86 migrants illegally migrating from Cuba and Haiti.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Sonar
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: 0.1943 sec (5 req/sec)