Trio indicted for falsifying records, obstruction in offshore dumping case

The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Justice Department:

(WASHINGTON) — A federal grand jury in Wilmington, Del., returned a four-count indictment Thursday charging Evridiki Navigation Inc., Liquimar Tankers Management Services Inc., and Nikolaos Vastardis with failing to keep accurate pollution control records, falsifying records, and obstruction of justice, the Justice Department announced.

According to the indictment, the charges stem from the falsification of records and other acts designed to conceal from the Coast Guard inspectors impermissible overboard discharges of oily bilge water from the Nigerian-flagged oil tanker M/T Evridiki. According to the indictment, on or about March 11, 2019, Vastardis, who was the chief engineer for the ship, failed to maintain an accurate oil record book which fully recorded both the discharge overboard of bilge water that had accumulated in machinery spaces, and any failure of the ship’s oil filtering equipment. Additionally, when the ship’s pollution control equipment was inspected by the Coast Guard, Vastardis made false statements concerning how the equipment was operated at sea, and demonstrated how the equipment was operated at sea in a manner designed to trick the equipment into reporting the discharge of oily bilge water at permissible levels.

The vessel’s management company, Liquimar Tankers Management Services; the vessel’s owner, Evridiki Navigation; and Vastardis are all charged with failing to maintain an accurate oil record book as required by the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, a U.S. law which implements the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, commonly known as MARPOL.  The defendants are also charged with falsification of records, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. 

An indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Coast Guard Investigative Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Edmund Falgowski of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, and Joel La Bissonniere, trial attorney with the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section.

By Professional Mariner Staff