Kirill Kompaniets, the Chief Engineer associated with a foreign-flagged vessel, was reportedly sentenced to imprisonment for having discharged about 10,000 gallons of contaminated bilge water in the US waters off the coast of New Orleans in 2021, and for obstructing justice.
This illegal act was reported to the Coast Guard first by a crew member through social media. Jolivette Brown, the honorable Nannette, sentenced Kompaniets to serve one year and a day in prison, pay a fine worth $5,000, a $200 special assessment charge, and serve about six months of supervised release.
Repair work to fix an issue by discharging clean ballast water that caused engine room flooding. After the leak was brought under control, Kompanietes, the Chief Engineer with a subordinate engineer managed to dump the contaminated water overboard when the vessel was at an anchorage close to the Southwest Passage off Louisiana’s coast. The pollution prevention devices – an oil content monitor and oily-water separator – were reportedly not used, and the discharge wasn’t recorded in the Oil Record Book, a necessary ship log.
Kompaniets was charged with the obstruction of justice based on his efforts to cover up the illegal discharge. In a statement filed in Court with his guilty plea, Kompaniets did admit to the acts of obstruction of justice mentioned below:
(1) Preparing false statements and sharing with the Coast Guard that concealed both the cause and the nature of a harmful condition, and covering up that the engine room had reportedly flooded and that oil-contaminated bilge water was also discharged overboard;
(2) Getting rid of computer alarm printouts for the period of the illegal discharge that was sought by the Coast Guard;
(3) Conducting meetings with subordinate crew members and directing them to make false statements to the Coast Guard;
(4) Introducing a false Oil Record Book that was incapable of disclosing the illegal discharge;
(5) Asking engine room employees to delete evidence from cell phones in anticipation of an inspection by the Coast Guard; and also
(6) Preparing a retaliatory document that the whistleblower of poor performance as part of an effort to discredit him.
Todd Kim, Assistant Attorney General, said that the intentional pollution caused in the US waters and the cover-up are criminal offenses that are not going to be tolerated. Todd Kim is associated with the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department. Prosecutions like this one must send a message to those that would consider violating the law and endangering precious natural resources.
Duane A. Evans, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, said that the announcement emphasizes that both the office and federal partners are committed to holding accountable parties whose criminal acts jeopardize the environment and places the ecosystem and public at risk.
The criminal prosecution is tackled by G. Dall Kammer, the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and A. Udell, the Senior Litigation Counsel Richard of the Environmental Crimes Section of Environment and Natural Resources Division, with assistance from District 8 of the Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service and the US Coast Guard. The inspection is in progress.
References: The United States Department Of Justice, Public Now