WASHINGTON -- A federal grand jury in Houston has returned an indictment charging two crewmembers of the oil tanker Georgios M with making false statements, violating federal law designed to prevent pollution from ships and obstruction of justice, the Justice Department announced.
According to the indictment, Ioannis Mylonakis and Argyrios Argyropoulos, served as Chief Engineers aboard the oil tanker Georgios M and each have been charged with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), making material false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard and obstruction of justice.
Both are accused of maintaining false oil record books aboard the oil tanker that concealed deliberate discharges of oil-contaminated waste directly into the ocean. The defendants are accused of being responsible for the oil record book when the oil tanker entered various ports in Texas from 2006 to 2008 including Corpus Christi, Texas City and Houston.
Engine room operations on board large oceangoing vessels such as the Georgios M generate oil-contaminated bilge waste. International and U.S. law prohibit the discharge of bilge waste containing more than 15 parts per million of oil without treatment by an oily water separator - a required pollution prevention device. APPS requires all overboard discharges be recorded in an oil record book, a standardized log which is regularly inspected by the Coast Guard.
Knowing violations of APPS are punishable by up to 6 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Making false statements are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while obstruction of justice is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
An indictment is a formal accusation and is not proof of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent until and unless they are found guilty.
The investigation is being conducted by the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section with assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency Regional Counsel’s Office.