Tanker captain pleads guilty to felony obstruction count

FEBRUARY 18, 2018 — Genaro Anciano, 52, a Filipino citizen and the captain of the 50,879 dwt tanker T/V Green Sky, pleaded guilty today to one felony count in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, for obstructing a U.S. Coast Guard investigation into pollution crimes aboard the vessel.

The 600 ft Green Sky is registered in Liberia. The Justice Department says the vessel is owned by an entity incorporated in the Marshall Islands. The Equasis data base lists the ship's beneficial owner as Aegean Aegean Marine Petroleum SA and its manager as Aegean Shipping Management SA, both based in Piraeus, Greece.

Anciano, who was the highest ranking officer aboard the ship, pleaded guilty to one count of Obstruction of an Agency Proceeding. The charge stems from a Coast Guard investigation in late August 2015 into the bypass of pollution prevention equipment, including the use of a "magic device," on the Green Sky. In court papers, the defendant stated that members of the ship's engine room staff, including a senior officer, admitted to illegally discharging overboard.

These admissions occurred prior to the August 2015 Coast Guard inspection at the Port of North Charleston.

During the investigation, Anciano made several false and misleading statements to the Coast Guard to cover up the illegal conduct, says the Justice Department, noting that "over the course of several days, the normal operation of the Green Sky generates thousands of gallons of bilge wastes that are contaminated with petroleum products and oil residues. These bilge wastes must be removed for the vessel to operate safely."

Both the United States and Liberia are parties to the MARPOL treaty, which regulates the overboard discharge of bilge waste. It was prohibited to discharge bilge wastes from the Green Sky without first running that effluent through the ship's oily water separator. According to the MARPOL treaty, all overboard discharges from the vessel's bilges had to be recorded in the Green Sky's oil record book. A bypass of the oily water separator, which is not recorded in the oil record book, jeopardizes the accuracy and integrity of that document. It is a separate federal crime for oceangoing vessels to enter a U.S. port with a false oil record nook.

Anciano's sentencing has not been scheduled.


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