Oil Tanker Captain Pleads Guilty To Environmental Crimes And Obstruction

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A Turkish oil tanker captain has pled guilty to environmental crimes, including illegal oil dumping and obstruction, following an investigation by U.S. authorities. This plea follows the earlier guilty pleas of the two companies operating the vessel. The captain faces significant penalties, including prison time and fines.

Illegal Oil Dumping Incident

The incident occurred when the tanker arrived in New Orleans on January 26, 2023. The U.S. Coast Guard inspection revealed that the captain ordered the crew to pump oily waste overboard using a portable pump and hose, bypassing required pollution prevention equipment. This waste was improperly transferred into the ship’s residual oil tank by a previous crew.

Concealment and False Documentation

The captain presented falsified oil record books to the Coast Guard, omitting information about the illegal discharge of oily waste into the ocean. These falsified logs were intended to conceal the crew’s non-compliance with international oil pollution treaties during their voyage to New Orleans.

Legal Consequences and Sentencing

The captain pled guilty to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and obstructing proceedings. He faces up to six years in prison and fines up to $250,000 for the APPS charge, and up to five years in prison for the obstruction charge. Sentencing is scheduled for September 10, ahead of the sentencing for the two companies involved.

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Source: Offshore Energy