Greek shipping companies Oceanic Illsabe Limited and Oceanfleet Shipping Limited were sentenced to pay a fine of USD 2.7 million after being convicted of obstructing justice, violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), tampering with witnesses and conspiracy.
Oceanic Illsabe Limited is the owner of the M/V Ocean Hope, a large cargo vessel that was responsible for dumping oily waste into the Pacific Ocean during 2015, while Oceanfleet Shipping Limited was the managing operator of the vessel.
The vessel’s operator was sentenced to pay a USD 1.35 million fine and make a USD 450,000 community service payment to Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary in recognition of the threat posed by illegal discharges of oily waste to the marine environment.
Oceanic Illsabe Limited was sentenced to pay a USD 675,000 fine and make a USD 225,000 community service payment to the reef.
Each company was placed on a five-year term of probation and barred from sending ships to United States ports until its financial penalty has been satisfied.
The case stems from an inspection of the the cargo ship, conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard at the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina in July 2015, during which senior engineers for the companies tried to hide that the vessel had been dumping oily wastes into the ocean for months.
The vessel’s two top engineers were previously convicted and sentenced to serve prison sentences in connection with these crimes.
Cassius Samson, 52, the second engineer of the Ocean Hope, was sentenced a term of 12 months in prison followed by a year of supervised release, while Rustico Ignacio, 66, the chief engineer, was sentences to a term of nine months followed by a year of supervised release.