Chief engineer convicted of illegal firings and obstruction of justice Ship’s crew

After a five-day jury trial, Chief Engineer Denys Korotkiy was found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and failure to keep accurate records of justice M/V Donald.

The vessel’s operator, Interunity Management (Deutschland) GMBH, previously pleaded guilty to maintaining false and incomplete records of the discharge of oily bilge water.

Evidence presented in court showed that Korotkiy and others were involved in illegally dumping oily bilge water directly into the sea via the ship’s holding tank, bypassing necessary pollution prevention equipment.

Oily bilge water typically contains oil contaminants resulting from the operation and cleaning of the ship’s machinery. These illegal discharges were not documented in the ship’s oil log as required by law. In addition, it was discovered that Korotkiy had made incorrect entries in the oil register book, falsely claiming that oily bilge transfers had taken place when they had not. He has also conspired with others to obstruct the US Coast Guard’s inspection and investigation into the improper handling of oily bilge water aboard the motor vessel Donald.

After the trial, Chief Engineer Korotkiy was remanded in custody and his sentencing is scheduled for September 1.

“Illegal oil spills can cause untold damage to the marine environment,” said US Attorney Randy Grossman. “We will continue to work closely with our agency partners to protect our oceans through vigorous enforcement of environmental laws. Today’s case reflects that commitment.”

Grossman thanked the prosecution team and the US Coast Guard for their excellent work on the case.

“The illegal discharge of oily bilge water at sea and the falsification and destruction of records to impede the United States’ ability to investigate these discharges are crimes that we take seriously,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Department of Environment and Nature of the Department of Justice Resources Department. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with our partner agencies to ensure polluters are held fully accountable.”

In a related matter, Interunity Management (Deutschland) GMBH pleaded guilty to violating the Ship Pollution Prevention Act by misrepresenting Donald’s Oil Record Book. Under the terms of the agreement, the company will pay a total fine of $1.25 million, serve a four-year probation period and implement a stringent environmental compliance plan for all company-operated ships calling at US ports. The agreement also includes a charitable payment of $312,500 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be used for research at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Preserve.

“This law enforcement underscores the commitment of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Coast Guard to protecting our oceans from those who seek to intentionally damage our natural resources,” said Capt. James Spitler, Coast Guard Sector Commander, San Diego Sector. “Illegal oil dumping and falsification of oil record books are serious violations. This guilty verdict should serve as a reminder that the Coast Guard and our partners at the Department of Justice will work tirelessly to hold accountable those who intentionally vent oil and falsify records.”

The investigation was conducted by the US Coast Guard Sector San Diego and the US Coast Guard Investigative Service. Assistant US Attorney Melanie K. Pierson and Lead Trial Counsel Stephen Da Ponte of the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Division are prosecuting the case.

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