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Ship Chief & Crew Sentenced for Vessel Pollution

Korean Vessel Used Hoses to Bypass Pollution Prevention Equipment

WASHINGTON — The Chief Engineer and Second Engineer of the M/V Sun New, owned and operated by The Sun Ace Shipping Company based in Seoul, South Korea, were sentenced today for crimes related to vessel pollution in relation to the operation of the bulk carrier vessel, the Justice Department announced.

Chief Engineer Chang-Sig O was sentenced to five months in prison and two months of supervised release during which time he may not return to U.S. navigable waters serving as a ship’s engineer. Second Engineer Mun Sig Wang was sentenced to three years of probation during which time he is prohibited from serving as an engineer on board any vessel that comes into the navigable waters of the U.S. The Sun Ace Shipping Company previously pleaded guilty, and was fined $400,000, ordered to pay $100,000 as a community service payment, and prohibited from returning to the U.S. for three years for similar violations in conjunction with this case.

In December 2006, Chief Engineer Chang-Sig O pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for maintaining a false oil record book and lying to the U.S. Coast Guard about his knowledge of the bypass hoses.

Second Engineer Mun Sig Wang also pleaded guilty in December 2006, to a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships for presenting a false oil record book to the U.S. Coast Guard in Camden, N.J., on Jan. 3, 2006. The false record book concealed the dumping of oily wastes overboard using the “magic pipe” built in order to bypass the vessel’s oily water separator.

Engine room operations on board large oceangoing vessels such as the Sun New generate large amounts of waste oil. International and U.S. law prohibit the discharge of waste oil without treatment by an oily water separator. The law also requires that all overboard discharges be recorded in an oil record book, a required log which is regularly inspected by the Coast Guard.

A joint factual statement filed in federal district court in New Jersey stated that on the night of Jan. 3, 2006, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors boarded the Sun New and discovered that members of the engine room crew had used bypass hoses to discharge oily wastes overboard into the ocean without using the vessel’s oily water separator. Upon further investigation, inspectors discovered that the crew of the Sun New had disposed of significant amounts of oil waste into the ocean at least twice during the voyage from South Korea to New Jersey. In September a grand jury in Newark, N.J., returned a three-count indictment charging Chang-Sig O and Mun Sig Wang with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and a violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships in connection with the use of the two bypass hoses.

The case was investigated by marine inspectors from Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, and special agents from the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney David Kehoe in the Environmental Crimes Section in the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Bradley Harsch, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.