The owners and operators of the Greek 735-foot bulk carrier Gallia Graeca and two engineers from the ship were convicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle of 12 felony counts related to their dumping of oily waste at sea, according to data released by the US Coast Guard.
The ship operator, Panama-based company Angelakos Hellas S.A., the ship owner from Cyprus, Gallia Graeca Shipping LTD, the chief engineer, Konstantinos Chrysovergis and the second engineer, Tryfon Angelou were found guilty of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the falsification of records in a federal investigation and engaging in a scheme to defraud the United States.
According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, during its voyage from China to Seattle in October 2015, the cargo ship’s pollution-control device, known as an oil water separator, was inoperable.
On October 16, 26 and 27, 2015, the defendants bypassed safeguards that prevent the discharge of oily water and discharged approximately 5,000 gallons of oily bilge water overboard.
The defendants concealed these incidents from the coast guard by making false statements to inspectors, and making false statements and omissions in the ship’s oil record book.
When coast guard inspectors examined the oil water separator they found its filters were clogged with oil and found oil residue in the overboard discharge piping. Records indicated the oil water separator had not been serviced for months prior to the voyage from China.
According to the official oil record book presented to the coast guard, bilge water had not been discharged during the voyage to Seattle. However, the investigation discovered evidence that oily water had been discharged into the sea three times on its voyage from China.
The sentencing is scheduled for September 16, 2016.
Image Courtesy: Shipspotting