Foreign ship operator, captain and chief engineer convicted of environmental crimes in US Ship’s crew

Zeus Lines Management SA (Zeus), a ship operating company, has pleaded guilty to multiple crimes related to oily bilge discharge and a dangerous condition on board the oil tanker Galissas.

The company’s chief engineer, Roberto Cayabyab Penaflor, and Captain Jose Ervin Mahigne Porquez also pleaded guilty to involvement in these crimes. The accused are due to be sentenced on August 8th.

According to court documents, Zeus and Penaflor admitted oily bilge water was illegally dumped from the Galissas directly into the ocean without being properly processed by the necessary pollution prevention equipment. They also acknowledged that these illegal discharges were not recorded in the ship’s oil log as required by law.

On three separate occasions between November 2021 and February 2022, Penaflor ordered crew members working for him in the engine room to dump a total of approximately 9,544 gallons of oily bilge water from the ship’s bilge tank directly into the ocean using the ship’s emergency fire pump, using the necessary equipment to Avoiding pollution of the ship is circumvented. In addition, in preparation for US Coast Guard inspection GalissasPenaflor, on several occasions, instructed crew members not to notify the Coast Guard of circumvention of pollution prevention equipment that results in illegal discharges.

Zeus and Penaflor each pleaded guilty to a criminal violation of the Ship Pollution Prevention Act for improperly keeping the oil record book for the ship Galissas. Zeus and Porquez also pled guilty to a felony violation of the Port and Waterway Safety Act for failing to report the ship’s dangerous condition to the US Coast Guard.

The US Coast Guard Southeast New England Sector and US Coast Guard Investigative Service are investigating the case. Prosecutors demonstrate the government’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of the marine environment and protecting coastal communities from dangerous conditions.

As part of the plea agreement, Zeus will pay a total fine of $2.25 million, consisting of a $1,687,500 fine and a $562,500 community service payment. Community service payment goes to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to fund projects that benefit the natural marine and coastal resources in the state of Rhode Island. In addition, Zeus will complete a four-year probationary period during which all ships operated by the company calling at US ports will be required to implement a robust environmental compliance plan.

U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha for the District of Rhode Island said, “In this case, a foreign company has decided it can ignore its obligation under American law, putting our waters and coastal communities at risk. Today’s guilty pleas are a reminder that this office will enforce our environmental laws to hold violators – individuals and companies – accountable and protect our vital natural resources and our citizens.”

Related Articles

Back to top button

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Don't miss new updates on your email