Jail for Chief Engineer in oil record case
U.S. Attorney Michael W. Mosman and Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, last week announced that Pyeong Gab Jung pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., to making false statements in the oil record book of the Cygnus, a car carrier that transported automobiles between Japan and the United States.
Jung was immediately sentenced to serve three months in prison, following which he will be deported to Korea.
As chief engineer of the Cygnus, Jung was responsible for maintaining the oil record book, a document which ocean-going ships are required to carry and to present on demand. In the oil record book, Jung was required to record all transfers, disposal and discharge of oil aboard the vessel. The U.S. Coast Guard routinely inspects oil record books of ships operating in U.S. waters.
Jung's entries in the book reflected that waste oil aboard the Cygnus was incinerated, when in fact it was discharged overboard on the high seas using a bypass hose.
"The Justice Department will not turn a blind eye to those who dump waste oil into our oceans or who falsify records relied upon by the Coast Guard to monitor vessel compliance with our environmental laws," said Sansonetti.
(Mr Sansonetti is among the speakers at Marine Log's upcoming conference, Maritime Legislation, Regulation and Policy, Washington., DC, September 17 & 18)
The violations aboard the Cygnus were discovered when federal government authorities, acting on a tip from a former crew member, executed a search warrant aboard the Cygnus on April 10, 2002.
During the search, they found the flexible hose that the Cygnus' crew used to bypass the ship's oil/water separator. In addition, they found fresh paint on the ship's overboard valve intended to conceal the fact that the bypass hose had been disconnected and hidden before the Cygnus arrived in Portland.
When the overboard valve was dismantled during the search, it was found to be contaminated with oil. Further, a diver inspecting Cygnus' hull found a long streak of oil on the side of the ship behind the discharge hole.
The Cygnus is a 623-foot car carrier owned by Feng Li Maritime Corporation and operated by Fujitrans Corporation. The vessel was under charter to ToyoFuji Shipping, Co., Ltd., a company jointly owned by Toyota Motor Co., Toyota Shipping Co., Ltd., and Fujitrans Corporation.
It is used to transport Toyota and Lexus automobiles from Japan to the United States.
The investigation was conducted by the United States Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Washington State Department of Ecology. The prosecution was conducted by the United States Attorney's Office in Portland and the Environmental Crimes Section of the United States Department of Justice.
A co-defendant, First Assistant Engineer Duk Jo Jeong, is scheduled to go to trial on August 13, 2002. In that case, Jeong is alleged to have participated in similar violations.