Chief Engineer From M/t Stolt Facto, Inigo Albina, Pleads Guilty To Obstruction Of Justice
INIGO ALBINA, age 57, a citizen of the Philippines, pleaded guilty today before U. S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr., to a one-count bill of information for obstruction of justice in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1505, announced U. S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.
According to the court documents, ALBINA served as the Chief Engineer of the M/T Stolt Facto, a 26,328 gross ton oil tanker,from October 18, 2012 until on or about January 30, 2013. ALBINA was responsible for the overall operation of the engine room which included maintaining the Oil Record Book. During his tenure as Chief Engineer of the M/T Stolt Facto, ALBINA made and signed all the entries in the Oil Record Book. ALBINA’s entries stated that the bilge water on the vesselhad passed through the Oil Water Separator prior to being discharged overboard.
Contrary to the statements in the Oil Record Book, the contents of the bilge wells and bilge holding tank were actually pumped into the sewage holding tank with hoses that stretched upward onto the uppermost deck of the engine room and around the floor of the engine control room by-passing the Oil Water Separator. From the sewage holding tank, the bilge water was discharged into the ocean. ALBINA did not record these exceptional discharges in the Oil Record Book.
On or about January 15, 2013, the M/T Stolt Facto was boarded by the United States Coast Guard pursuant to its 89(a) authority while the vessel was anchored in the Mississippi River, near New Orleans, Louisiana, and within the Eastern District of Louisiana. During the boarding, the Coast Guard inspectors found the hoses and pump used to by-pass the Oil Water Separator. When the Coast Guard inspectors questioned the engine room crew about the purpose for the equipment and the operation of the Oil Water Separator, all except one engineer, denied that they by-passed the Oil Water Separator despite some of them having been ordered to assist with the connection of the hoses and pumps.
After the Coast Guard’s initial interviews of the engine crew, ALBINA asked each one how he had responded to the Coast Guard’s questions. ALBINA then conducted an all-hands meeting with the engineers and lower level engine room crew. The illegality of the operation was discussed, but ALBINA told everyone in the meeting to deny knowledge of the hoses going to the sewage holding tank by-passing the Oil Water Separator. ALBINA admits that he was trying to influence the Coast Guard inspection by telling the crew to lie in order to prevent the Coast Guard from detecting that the hoses and pump were used to by-pass.
ALBINA faces a maximum of five years incarceration and/or a $250,000 fine. Upon release from any term of imprisonment, ALBINA is subject to up three years supervised release. He will be sentenced on August 7, 2013.
The case was investigated by the United States Coast Guard. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Emily Greenfield.