Vessel manager and owner charged with falsification of pollution records

Vessel manager and owner charged with falsification of pollution records

Chartworld Shipping Corporation, Nederland Shipping Corporation, and chief engineer Vasileios Mazarakis have been charged with failing to keep accurate pollution control records, falsifying records, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering.

The decision was made by a federal grand jury in Wilmington, Delaware last month. According to the United States Department of Justice, the charges were made as a result of falsification of records and other acts designed to cover up from the United States Coast Guard (USCG) overboard discharges of oily mixtures and machinery space bilge water from the Bahamian-flagged cargo vessel, Nederland Reefer.

On February 21, 2019, the Nederland Reefer entered the Port of Delaware Bay with a false and misleading Oil Record Book available for inspection by the USCG. The Oil Record Book failed to accurately record transfers and discharges of oily wastewater on the vessel.

Ship management company, Chartworld Shipping Corporation, the vessel’s owner, Nederland Shipping Corporation, and the chief engineer of the vessel, Greek national Vasileios Mazarakis, are all charged with failing to maintain an accurate oil record book as required by the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, a US law which implements the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).  The defendants were also charged with falsification of records, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering for destroying evidence of the illegal discharges and directing lower level crew members to withhold evidence from the USCG.

The corporate defendants are also charged with the failure to report a hazardous condition to the USCG. The hazard was a breach in the vessel’s hull and incursion of seawater into tanks onboard the vessel before it arrived in port in Delaware.

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