Ship Engineers Face Jail in U.S.

Felipe Arcolas and Alfredo Lozada face maximum penalties of up to five years imprisonment, a fine up to $250,000, and probation for up to three years. According to a U.S. government press statement, the US Coast Guard received an anonymous tip that a vessel bound for Portland was illegally discharging its waste oil and its bilges while at sea.

The 1977-built ship is owned and operated by British Virgin Islands-based Petraia Maritime Ltd.

The Coast Guard inspected the "Kent Navigator" when it entered the port and found oily residue in piping that led to overboard discharge valves, and oil pollution control equipment that was inoperable. The Coast Guard's investigation revealed that while the vessel was at sea, Mr Arcolas and Mr Lozada ordered that its waste oil and oily bilges be pumped directly overboard, and that the ship's oil water separator, a required pollution prevention device, also be circumvented. The statement claims: "These actions led to the discharge of significant quantities of oil into the ocean."

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine, Paula Silsby, said "This is the second case this summer in which individuals have been prosecuted in Maine for lying about vessel pollution discharges. The integrity of the vessel inspection process, designed to protect the waters of Maine and the world, will continue to be ensured through the swift prosecution of those who create and present false documents to the Coast Guard."