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Portuguese bulk carrier guilty of oil dumping

Portline Bulk International in federal court Thursday agreed to pay a $1.5 million criminal fine for willfully dumping oily bilge into the ocean and falsifying its ship’s oil records.

   A Portuguese bulk ocean carrier pleaded guilty in federal court in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday to one count of violating federal ship pollution rules and one count of obstruction.
   According to the Justice Department, between April 2017 and August 2018, crewmen on board Portline Bulk International’s Maltese-flag ship Achilleus bypassed the ship’s oil water separator to dump oily bilge into the ocean. The crew then falsified the oil records, which it presented to the Coast Guard during an inspection in the Port of Charleston.
   As part of its guilty plea, Portline agreed to pay a criminal fine of $1.5 million when the company is sentenced at a future date. The company also will be placed on a four-year probation, which includes an environmental compliance plan.
   On Monday, the ship’s former Chief Engineer Anatoli Zotsenko and Second Engineer Valerii Pastushenko, who previously had 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 U.S. ports and anchorages.

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.