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Marine Log

May 17, 2007

More "magic pipe" indictments

Pat Meehan, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, yesterday announced the filing of a six count indictment charging a ship's operator and crew with failing to record illegal discharges of waste. Water contaminated with oil was released directly into the ocean by the Valparaiso Star.

According to a statement by the U.S. Attorney, while docked in Philadelphia in January, the vessel presented a false record book to Coast Guard inspectors in an attempt to conceal the illegal discharges.

Fleet Management Limited of Hong Kong, Parag Raj Grewal, an Indian foreign national and captain of the vessel, and Yevgen Dyachenko, a foreign national of the Ukraine, are charged with conspiracy, failure to maintain an accurate oil record book on the M/V Valparaiso Star in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, false statements, and obstruction of agency proceedings. The indictment charges that the defendants conspired to conceal illegal discharges of oily-based waste, including oil-contaminated sludge and oil contaminated bilge water from the M/V Valparaiso Star by failing to record them in the vessel's oil record book.

"The indictment also alleges that the ship's management company (Fleet) and captain obstructed the investigation by attempting to influence witness testimony," said Meehan.

The M/V Valparaiso Star is a seventeen year old, Liberian flagged, refrigerated bulk container ship that is operated by Fleet Management, Ltd.

According to the charges, the ship's Chief Engineer, Yevgen Dyachenko, ordered members of the crew to use a flexible hose to bypass pollution control technology on the ship and to dispose of untreated oily waste, sludge and bilge water directly overboard. Dyachenko and other crew members also manipulated the pumps and valves associated with the internal, hard-piped bilge/ballast system, also known as the emergency de-watering system, discharging water contaminated with oil from the ship's bilge holding wells directly into the ocean.

Captain Grewal and Chief Engineer Yevgen then failed to record such discharges in the ship's oil record book, a document required to be maintained by the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, a U.S. law created to prevent such pollution. While docked at the Tioga Marine Terminal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 24, 2007, the vessel presented the false Oil Record Book to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors during a Port State Control inspection.