MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FALSE STATEMENT TO COAST GUARD
PEDRO GUERRERO, age 57, a citizen of the Phillipines, pleaded guilty on February 15, 2012, before the Honorable Martin L.C. Feldman, to a one-count bill of information for making false statements, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to the court documents, GUERRERO served as the Chief Engineer of the M/V Polyneos, a Marshal Islands flagged vessel, from June 8, 2011 until on or about October 16, 2011. As the Chief Engineer of the vessel, GUERRERO was responsible managing the vessel’s fuel, lubrication and diesel oils, and for managing the collection and disposal of bilge waste, waste oil, sludge, and other oil residues. GUERRERO was responsible for maintaining the Oil Record Book in which the operation of the vessel’s Oil Water Separator, incinerator, and the disposal of all bilge waste, sludge, and oil residues should have been accurately recorded.
During his time as Chief Engineer of the M/V Polyneos, GUERRERO directed members of the engine room crew to pump the contents of the bilge tank and bilge oil tank directly overboard resulting in oily water and sludge waste going directly into the ocean. GUERRERO did not use, nor did he direct another engine room crew member to use, the vessel’s Oil Water Separator or incinerator to properly process and dispose of bilge waste, sludge, or oil residues. Rather, GUERRERO made false entries in the vessel’s Oil Record Book stating that the incinerator had been used to burn oil waste and sludge to mislead port authorities who may inspect the Oil Record Book.
On or about October 16, 2011, the vessel came into port in the Eastern District of Louisiana, and GUERRERO presented to the United States Coast Guard the false Oil Record Book. GUERRERO also participated in obstructing the Coast Guard’s investigation of the vessel when unable to find the “Daily Sounding Bilge and Sludge” log he told the engine room crew that if one of them found the book he should destroy it. GUERRERO knew that the information in the sounding log was truthful and would contradict the information contained in the vessel’s Oil Record Book.
GUERRERO faces a maximum sentence of five (5) years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Upon release from any term of imprisonment, he is subject to up three (3) years supervised release. The operator of the vessel and GUERRERO’s employer, Odysea Carriers, S.A., was charged with multiple federal violations this week from the vessel’s October 16, 2011 port call, including the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, Obstruction of Justice, and Ports and Waterways Safety Act.
The case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency. The case was prosecuted by Dorothy Taylor and Emily Greenfield.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org