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Ship operator and chief engineer convicted of oily bilge water – Press Releases

New Trade Ship Management SA (New Trade), a ship operating company, and ship’s chief engineer Dennis Plasabas pleaded guilty today in San Diego, California to maintaining false and incomplete records of discharges of oily bilge water from the bulk carrier longshore.

New Trade and Plasabas acknowledged that oily bilge water was illegally dumped from the longshore directly into the ocean without being properly processed by the necessary pollution prevention equipment. Oily bilge water typically contains oil contaminants from the operation and cleaning of machinery on the ship. The defendants also acknowledged that these illegal discharges were not recorded in the ship’s oil log as required by law. Specifically, on two separate occasions between October and December 2021, Chief Engineer Plasabas, who was employed by New Trade, ordered lower-ranking crew members to use a portable pneumatic pump and hose to bypass the pollution prevention equipment by pumping oily bilge water out of the Ship was diverted from the bilge tank to the ship’s holding tank, from where it was discharged directly into the sea. Plasabas then failed to record these improper transfers and overboard discharges in the ship’s oil log. In addition, in order to create a false and misleading electronic record as if the pollution prevention equipment had been properly used, Plasabas instructed lower-ranking crew members to pump clean seawater into the ship’s bilge tank in the same volume as the volume of oil Bilge water, which he had ordered to be drained into the sewage tank. Plasabas then processed the clean seawater through the ship’s anti-pollution equipment as if it were oily bilge water to make it appear that the anti-pollution equipment was being used properly when in fact it was not. The electronic records show that approximately 9,600 gallons of clean seawater was channeled through the Pollution Prevention…

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