Indian company, crew member plead guilty in pollution case
The U.S. Justice Department said the India-based shipping company Accord Ship Management and a chief engineer Francisco Sabando have pled guilty in connection to the illegal dumping of oily sludge, bilge wastes, and oil contaminated ballast water from one of the company's ships, the Sportsqueen, a 479-foot general cargo vessel. The case grew out of a Coast Guard inspection in April 2007.
Justice said Accord will pay a criminal fine of $1.75 million and serve a three year term of probation during which time all of the ships in its fleet will be banned from U.S. waters and ports. Sabando pled guilty to obstruction of justice charges and will serve prison terms of five months.
According to the plea agreements, Sabando had ordered crew members to dump oil sludge and bilge wastes into the ocean and falsified the ship's oil record book to conceal these discharges. With assistance from several lower level crew members, Coast Guard inspectors discovered and seized the bypass hose and pipes used to dump the oil sludge, bilge waste, and contaminated ballast water overboard.