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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cargo Ship Officer Sentenced To Three Months In Prison For Failing To Report Oil He Ordered Dumped Into Ocean

CAMDEN, N.J. –The former chief mate of the ocean cargo vessel M/V Murcia Carrier was sentenced today to three months in prison for failing to report the hydraulic oil he ordered dumped into the ocean, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division announced.

 Valerii Georgiev, 42, a Russian citizen, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez to an information charging him with one count of failing to maintain an accurate oil record book in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS). Judge Rodriguez imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

APPS requires vessels like the M/V Murcia Carrier to maintain a record known as an oil record book in which all transfers and disposals of oil-contaminated waste, including the discharge overboard of such waste, must be fully and accurately recorded.

On April 27, 2014, at the direction of Georgiev, M/V Murcia Carrier crew members dumped several barrels containing hydraulic oil overboard. While Georgiev disputes the number of barrels dumped into the sea, the government believes that approximately 20 barrels of hydraulic oil were dumped overboard. The dumping occurred in international waters off the coast of Florida while the vessel was in transit from Costa Rica to New Jersey. The dumping was not recorded in the ship’s oil record book. When the Coast Guard boarded the vessel, Georgiev denied that the dumping occurred and instructed crew members to do the same.

On June 17, 2015, Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd, a company in Glasgow, United Kingdom, and operator of the M/V Murcia Carrier pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an accurate oil record book and providing false statements with respect to the vessel’s garbage record book.  The company was sentenced to pay a fine of $750,000 and placed on probation for three years.

The case was investigated by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathleen P. O’Leary and Matthew Smith of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey, and Joel La Bissonniere of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice.

Defense counsel: Michael Keith Twersky Esq., Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
15-263
Updated July 8, 2015