Chief engineer gets prison term for oil record book, conspiracy and obstruction offenses

Written by Nick Blenkey
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In a case that tells an all too familiar tale of oily bilge dumping, oil record book falsification, and a failed attempted at cover up, Denys Korotkiy, chief engineer of the vessel Donald was sentenced on Sept. 15 to serve twelve months and a day in prison for conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and failure to maintain an accurate oil record book.

Korotkiy was convicted on those charges June 9, following a five-day jury trial.

The DOJ says evidence showed that oily bilge water was illegally dumped from the Donald directly into the ocean through the vessel’s sewage tank without being properly processed through required pollution prevention equipment. These illegal discharges were not recorded in the vessel’s oil record book as required by law. The evidence also showed that Korotkiy made false and fictitious entries in the oil record book claiming transfers of oily bilge had been made from the vessel’s engine room bilge wells to the vessel’s bilge holding tank when, in fact, those transfers had not been made. Finally, the evidence showed that Korotkiy conspired with others to obstruct the U.S. Coast Guard’s inspection and investigation into the mishandling of oily bilge water onboard the motor vessel Donald.

According to the original indictment, authorities scheduled the Denis for a routine Port State Control examination at the port of San Diego on May 31, 2022. Days before their visit, Coast Guard inspectors received information from the ship’s second engineer that Korotkiy had ordered crewmembers to pump oily bilge water directly from the vessel’s bilge to the sewage tank for discharge into the sea, bypassing the required pollution prevention equipment. On May 30, 2022, at the direction of a corporate shore side manager, Korotkiy destroyed the vessel’s sounding sheets to prevent inspectors from examining them. These records recorded the actual amounts of oil residue, oily mixtures, and machinery space bilge water. as well as sewage, accumulated onboard the M/V Donald. Crewmembers also failed to record accurate information in the ORB, including the transfers of machinery space bilge water from the bilge to the sewage tank and the illegal bilge water discharges.

At the conclusion of the jury trial, the court remanded Korotkiy to custody pending sentencing, which was pronounced by U.S. District Court Judge Todd W. Robinson for the Southern District of California.


Vessel operating company Interunity Management (Deutschland) GmbH, which had previously pleaded guilty for maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oily bilge water, was ordered to pay a total of $1.25 million, including more than $312,000 to benefit marine and coastal natural resources in or near the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Interunity will also serve a four-year term of probation, during which any vessels operated by the company and calling on U.S. ports will be required to implement a robust Environmental Compliance Plan.

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