June 14, 2007
Prison term for tanker chief engineer
The chief engineer of the ocean-going chemical tanker Clipper Trojan was sentenced yesterday in Newark, N.J., to five months in prison for his role in attempting to cover up illegal discharges of oil sludge and oil-contaminated bilge waste on board the ship, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.
U.S. District Chief Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr., also ordered Fernando Magnaye, 45, of Quezon City, The Philippines, to pay a $3,000 fine.
Magnaye, as a licensed chief engineer aboard the M/T Clipper Trojan, was responsible for managing engine room operations and faithfully recording any transfers or discharges of oil sludge or oil-contaminated bilge waste in the ship's oil record book.
Ships are required under international and U.S. law to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book that records all discharges or transfers of oil. The Coast Guard regularly inspects ships' oil record books in determining whether to allow ships to enter U.S. ports and waters.
Magnaye pleaded guilty on February 2, 2007, to charges of presenting a false document to the Coast Guard and attempting to obstruct a Coast Guard inspection.
At his plea hearing, Magnaye admitted that he knew about illegal discharges of oil sludge and contaminated bilge waste but failed to record those discharges in the M/T Clipper Trojan's oil record book.
Magnaye admitted presenting the ship's oil record book to the Coast Guard during an inspection on June 15, 2006, in Port Newark and falsely claimed to Coast Guard inspectors that the book was accurate.
Magnaye further admitted that he asked the ship's fourth engineer to ensure that the Coast Guard would take a false reading of the contents of the ship's bilge sludge oil tank, in which oily waste is stored
Magnaye stated that he did so because an accurate reading of the tank's contents may have exposed the false entries in the oil record book.
The corporations that owned and operated the M/T Clipper Trojan were indicted on March 27, 2007.
The eleven-count indictment alleges that Magnaye and other crew members of the M/T Clipper Trojan attempted to prevent the U.S. Coast Guard from learning of the illegal discharges during the Coast Guard's inspection of the ship.
The corporate defendants include Clipper Wonsild Tankers A/S, a Danish company that commercially operated the M/T Clipper Trojan; Clipper Marine Services A/S, with offices in Denmark and Great Britain, which technically managed the ship; and Trojan Shipping Co., Ltd., a Bahamas company to which the ship was registered.