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Greek Shipping Company To Pay $1 Million Fine in Oil Pollution Case

Release Date: 12/07/2005
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Contact: Dave Ryan, 202-564-4355 /

(12/7/05) Karlog Shipping Company Ltd., of Piraeus, Greece, pleaded guilty on Nov. 16 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to obstructing justice by concealing the release of oil into the ocean from the Motor Vessel Friendship. Karlog Shipping was ordered to pay a $1 million fine, develop a fleet-wide court-monitored environmental management system and serve three years' probation. In addition, Panagiotis Kokkinos, the ship's chief engineer, and Athanasios Chalkias, the ship's fitter, have also each pleaded guilty in connection with their role in ordering crew members to make false statements to the Coast Guard regarding discharges of oil from the ship. Each man was sentenced on Oct. 6 to 30 days in prison and three years' probation. In November 2004, a routine Coast Guard investigation discovered evidence that a bypass pipe had been used on the M/V Friendship to route oil around the ship's oil-water separator. Evidence also indicated that the pollution was concealed by maintaining a false oil record book that made it appear that the ship was being operated properly. Discharging oil into the ocean may harm fish and other aquatic species. The case was initiated by Marine Inspectors and Marine Investigators from Coast Guard Sector New York and was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service and the New York Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division. It was prosecuted by the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.