Tanker engineers admit to discharging oily waste off NJ

Two engineers who worked on the Greek-flagged tanker Kriti Ruby pleaded guilty in federal court to discharging oily wastewater into the sea near a Sewaren, N.J., oil terminal and then trying to cover it up.

Konstantinos Atsalis, 57, the ship’s chief engineer, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, prosecutors said. Sonny Bosito, 54, the ship’s second engineer, pleaded guilty to one count.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, crew aboard the 600-foot tanker used a sewage system to discharge oily waste from the engine room bilge wells before a U.S. Coast Guard inspection.

Atsalis is a Greek citizen and Bosito is a citizen of the Philippines.

“Atsalis admitted that the vessel’s crew had knowingly bypassed required pollution prevention equipment by discharging oily waste from the vessel’s engine room through its sewage system into the sea, including near a petroleum offloading facility in Sewaren,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey said in a statement.

He also admitted to falsifying records by failing to record the discharge and ordering crewmembers to try and hide the equipment used to discharge the oily waste. Bosito also admitted to his role in trying to conceal the discharge.

Sentencing is scheduled for October. Both men could face up to six years in prison plus fines potentially exceeding $250,000 for each count.