June 7, 2007
Tanker owner, engineer indicted in waste oil dumping case
Ionia Management, a Greek company that manages a fleet of tanker vessels, was indicted today for its role in overboard dumping of waste oil from the M/T Kriton into international waters and for efforts to impede the United States Coast Guard and other authorities from learning of the illegal conduct.
The indictment also charges Edgardo Mercurio, Second Engineer aboard the M/T Kriton, with obstruction of justice.
The announcement was made jointly by the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Connecticut and the U.S. Attorney's Office in for the Southern District of Florida.
The indictments, returned today in Connecticut and Florida, charge Ionia Management S.A. and Mercurio with falsifying records to conceal the illegal discharge of waste oil, and using and presenting false oil record books to the Coast Guard in port calls in the District of Connecticut and the Southern District of Florida. According to the indictment, Mercurio encouraged other crew-members to lie to the Coast Guard about the violations.
The Justice Department points out that an indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The investigation was conducted by the Coast Guard Investigative Service, the Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, and the Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigative Division. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.