Research Vessel Chief Engineer Sentenced for Falsifying Records

Friday, January 21, 2011

In the district court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Judge Sarah S. Vance sentenced Michael Murphy, a former chief engineer employed by Offshore Vessels, LLC (OSV), to two years probation. Judge Vance also ordered Murphy to pay a criminal fine of $5,000.

On Oct. 20, 2010, Murphy pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with submitting a false statement, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. Murphy had served aboard the R/V Laurence M. (L.M.) Gould (R/V Gould), a 2,966 gross ton American-flagged ship owned by OSV that served as an ice-breaking research vessel for the National Science Foundation on research voyages to and from Antarctica. Murphy admitted that on or about Sep. 27, 2005, he knowingly and willfully presented an oil record book containing false entries to Coast Guard personnel during an inspection.

The company previously pleaded guilty to a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, 33 U.S.C. § 1908(a), admitting that on or about September 8, 2005, crew members knowingly discharged oily wastewater on the high seas directly overboard from the ship’s bilge tank. On Nov. 4, 2010, OSV was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $1.75 million, submit a community service payment of $350,000 to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and serve probation for a period of three years. During the probationary period, OSV will be subject to an Environmental Compliance Plan.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Services and was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Daniel Dooher, Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dorothy Manning Taylor, Eastern District of Louisiana.

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