Chief Mate Sentenced for Environmental Crimes
Valerii Georgiev, a Russian citizen and former chief mate of the ocean cargo vessel M/V Murcia Carrier, was sentenced to a term of three months prison for failing to maintain an accurate oil record book in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), by the Honorable Joseph Rodriguez, the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced today.
APPS requires vessels like the M/V Murcia Carrier to maintain a record known as an oil record book in which all transfers and disposals of oil-contaminated waste, including the discharge overboard of such waste, must be fully and accurately recorded.
On April 27, 2014, at the direction of Georgiev, crew members on board the M/V Murcia Carrier dumped overboard several barrels containing some hydraulic oil. While Georgiev disputes the number of barrels dumped into the sea, the government believes that approximately 20 barrels of hydraulic oil were dumped overboard. The dumping occurred in international waters off the coast of Florida while the vessel was in transit from Costa Rica to New Jersey. The dumping was not recorded in the ship’s oil record book. During the course of the Coast Guard boarding, Georgiev denied that dumping occurred and instructed crew members on board the vessel to deny that dumping had occurred.
On June 17, 2015, Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd, a company in Glasgow, United Kingdom and operator of the M/V Murcia Carrier pleaded guilty failing to maintain an accurate oil record logbook and providing false statements with respect to the vessel’s garbage record book. The company was sentenced to pay a fine of $750,000 and placed on probation for three years.
The case was investigated by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service. The case was prosecuted by Joel La Bissonniere of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathleen O’Leary and Matthew Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey.