Ship’s chief engineer pleads guilty in oil pollution case

The following is the text of a press release issued Sept. 5 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston:
(BOSTON) — A Ukranian seafarer pled guilty today in federal court to charges of failing to maintain an accurate ship record concerning the disposal of oil contaminated waste by the M/T Nautilus.
United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and Rear Admiral Dale G. Gabel, United States Coast Guard, Commander, First Coast Guard District, announced today that VADYM TUMAKOV, age 44, of the Ukraine, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris to two counts of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by failing to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book.
At today’s plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the government’s evidence would have proven that Chief Engineer VADYM TUMAKOV, an officer on the commercial vessel M/T Nautilus owned by Cyprus-based Iceport Shipping Company, Ltd., and operated by Spanish-based Consultores de Navegacion S.A., maintained a falsified Oil Record Book while the vessel was in the navigable waters of the United States in September 2007.
Federal and international law requires that all ships follow pollution regulations that include proper disposal of oily water through an Oil Water Separator on board the vessel. Large vessels generate oil contaminated water waste when water mixes in the bottom of the vessel (the bilge), with oil leaked and dripped from the machinery and the lubrication and fuel systems. Such oil contaminated bilge waste may properly be disposed of by off-loading it to a licensed hauler and disposal facility at port, or by discharging it overboard after the oil is separated out using an the Oily Water Separator. Federal law further requires ships to accurately record each disposal of oil contaminated bilge water in an Oil Record Book and to have the Oil Record Book available for inspection by the United States Coast Guard within the internal waters of the United States.
TUMAKOV served as Chief Engineer aboard the M/T Nautilus between May and October 2007 and was responsible for all engine room operations. During that time, TUMAKOV ordered an engine room crew member to discharge oil contaminated bilge water directly into the ocean. Thereafter, on or about September 2, 2007, in Port Reading, New Jersey, and on or about September 12, 2007, in Houston, Texas, within the internal waters of the United States, TUMAKOV knowingly failed to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book for the M/T Nautilus. Specifically, TUMAKOV knowingly maintained an Oil Record Book that failed to disclose the overboard discharge of oil contaminated waste.
Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for December 10, 2008. TUMAKOV faces up to 10 years imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Boston, Coast Guard Investigative Service, New England Region. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda M. Ricci of Sullivan’s Economic Crimes Unit, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Jones of the United States Coast Guard First District Legal Office, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley Harsch of the District of New Jersey.
By Professional Mariner Staff