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United States Attorney's Office News Release

 

May 16, 2007 -

SHIP OPERATOR AND CREW CHARGED
WITH CONCEALING ILLEGAL DISCHARGES OF OIL

Defendants Allegedly Failed to Record Illegal Discharges In Ship’s Oil Record Book

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Pat Meehan today announced the filing of a six count indictment* charging a ship’s operator and crew with failing to record illegal discharges of waste. Water contaminated with oil was released directly into the ocean by the Valparaiso Star. While docked in Philadelphia in January, the vessel presented a false record book to Coast Guard inspectors in an attempt to conceal the illegal discharges.

Fleet Management Limited of Hong Kong, Parag Raj Grewal, an Indian foreign national and captain of the vessel, and Yevgen Dyachenko, a foreign national of the Ukraine, are charged with conspiracy, failure to maintain an accurate oil record book on the M/V Valparaiso Star in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, false statements, and obstruction of agency proceedings. The indictment charges that the defendants conspired to conceal illegal discharges of oily-based waste, including oil-contaminated sludge and oil contaminated bilge water from the M/V Valparaiso Star by failing to record them in the vessel’s oil record book.

“The indictment also alleges that the ship’s management company (Fleet) and captain obstructed the investigation by attempting to influence witness testimony,” said Meehan.

The M/V Valparaiso Star is a seventeen year old, Liberian flagged, refrigerated bulk container ship that is operated by Fleet Management, Ltd. According to the charges, the ship’s Chief Engineer, Yevgen Dyachenko, ordered members of the crew to use a flexible hose to bypass pollution control technology on the ship and to dispose of untreated oily waste, sludge and bilge water directly overboard. Dyachenko and other crew members also manipulated the pumps and valves associated with the internal, hard-piped bilge/ballast system, also known as the emergency de-watering system, discharging water contaminated with oil from the ship’s bilge holding wells directly into the ocean.

Captain Grewal and Chief Engineer Yevgen then failed to record such discharges in the ship’s oil record book, a document required to be maintained by the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, a U.S. law created to prevent such pollution. While docked at the Tioga Marine Terminal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 24, 2007, the vessel presented the false Oil Record Book to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors during a Port State Control inspection.

Engine room operations on board large ocean-going vessels generate large amounts of oil contaminated sludge and oil-contaminated bilge waste. International and U.S. law prohibit the discharge of oil contaminated bilge waste unless it first has been treated in an oil water separator to reduce the oil component of the waste stream. Oil captured by the oil water separator is then supposed to be disposed of, along with the oil-contaminated sludge, for a fee, at shore facilities. To circumvent this legal obligation, ship crews often use hoses or pipes, to bypass the oily water separator and discharge the oil contaminated waste, sludge and bilge water directly over-board from the ship. These illegal discharges help the ship’s owners and operators save on disposal costs for such materials at port.

Illegal discharges of oil-contaminated waste are a serious threat to the health of the world’s water resources. A 2003 report of the international Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development estimated that the amount of oil illegally discharged into the sea through routine ship operations each year is about eight times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez when it ran aground off the coast of Alaska in 1989, or about 88 million gallons.


DEFENDANT


ADDRESS


AGE [Date of Birth]

Fleet Management, Ltd.
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Parag Raj Grewal
India
34
Yevgen Dyachenko
Ukraine
53

The case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard - Criminal Investigative Service and the United States Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division. The matter has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Joan E. Burnes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorney Jeffrey Phillips of the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.


UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT, PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Contact:
RICH MANIERI
Media Contact
215.861.8525

*An Indictment or Information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

Benjamin Franklin Photo by B. Krist for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation