Captain of pollution case tanker PS Dream could get prison term

Written by Nick Blenkey
PS Dream

PS Dream [USCG photo]

While two whistleblowers in a recent tanker pollution case could could be awarded up to $500,000, the vessel’s captain could face imprisonment. As we reported earlier, last month two related companies that operated the motor tanker PS Dream – Prive Overseas Marine LLC and Prive Shipping Denizcilik Ticaret – pleaded guilty to conspiracy, knowingly violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and obstruction of justice related to the falsification of the tanker’s Oil Record Book, which is a required log.

If the court approves the plea agreement, the companies will be fined a total of $2 million and serve four years of probation … and the whistleblower crew members will collect.


Separate charges were filed against Captain Abdurrahman Korkmaz, 37, a Turkish national who was the ship’s master.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the PS Dream arrived in New Orleans on Jan. 26, 2023. The U.S. Coast Guard conducted an inspection which included a review of the vessel’s oil record books. In his plea, Korkmaz acknowledges presenting the books to the Coast Guard knowing that they omitted information about discharging oily waste to the ocean before arriving in the United States. The falsified logs were intended to conceal the fact that beginning on Jan. 11, the crew had dumped oil-contaminated waste overboard on the voyage to New Orleans and was not complying with international treaties regulating oil pollution from ships.

According to documents and statements filed in court, Korkmaz ordered his crew to pump overboard from the residual oil tank which contained oily waste. A portable pump placed inside the tank and connected to a long flexible hose was used to discharge directly into the ocean without any required pollution prevention equipment or monitoring. The waste oil, including sludge, originated in the engine room and had been improperly transferred into the residual oil tank on the deck of the ship by a prior PS Dream crew.

Senior managers at Prive Shipping LLC and Prive Shipping Denizcilik Ticaret were aware that the oil-contaminated waste remained in the tank and were informed by Korkmaz that it had been dumped overboard.

Korkmaz is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 10. He faces a maximum penalty of six years in prison, with a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, for the APPS charge. He also faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, with a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, for the obstruction charge.

A U.S. district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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