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Portuguese shipping company pleads guilty to falsifying oil record book

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Christian Fernsby |
Portline Bulk International
America   Portline Bulk International

Portline Bulk International S.A. pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, to one count of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and one count of Obstruction.

The charges stem from the falsification of the Oil Record Book onboard the MV Achilleus, a Maltese-flagged ocean-going bulk carrier ship managed by Defendant Portline.

From April 2017 to August 2018, senior members of the vessel’s engineering team oversaw and participated in the bypass of the ship’s Oil Water Separator utilizing a yellow plastic hose, referred to as a magic pipe.

The ship’s Chief Engineer made a series of fake entries and key omissions in the Oil Record Book in order to conceal the illegal overboard discharges of oily bilge water.

On Aug. 14, 2018, the false Oil Record Book was presented to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) during an inspection in the Port of Charleston.

According to court documents, Portline has agreed to pay a criminal fine of $1.5 million when the company is sentenced at a future date.

The company would also be placed on organizational probation for four years, which includes an environmental compliance plan.

On June 17, 2019, the ship’s former Chief Engineer Anatoli Zotsenko and Second Engineer Valerii Pastushenko, who had previously pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, were sentenced to fines totaling $12,500 and three years’ probation.

The probation term includes a special condition that bans Zotsenko and Pastushenko from entering ports and anchorages of the United States.


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