The United States Department of Justice has declared that Diana Shipping Services S.A., which is a Panamian shipping corporation headquartered in Greece, and 2 engineers are convicted after a twelve-day bench trial on charges related to the illegal discharge of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water from the M/V Thetis, a cargo ship operated by Diana Shipping.
The two engineers and Diana Shipping were convicted of conspiracy, knowing failure to fully maintain an oil record book, falsification of those records and concealing tangible objects in a federal investigation.
What's more, one of the 2 engineers employed by Diana Shipping SA, Mr Ioannis Prokopakis, was also convicted of obstruction of justice for ordering crew members to lie the inspectors of the USCG aboard the vessel M/V Thetis.
"Those defendants not only violated the law when they illegally discharged contaminated waste into our waters, but then conspired to cover up their criminal conduct," stated Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney. "Those people that choose to continue violating the law, even after being confronted, are going to find themselves in the same, serious trouble as these defendants."
The Greek corporation Diana Shipping Services, S.A. faced a maximum fine of 5,5 million dollars and 5 years of probation. The 2 convicted engineers, Mr Antonios Boumpoutelos and Mr Ioannis Prokakis face a maximum sentence of 5 years for the conspiracy conviction, 6 years per failure to maintain an oil record book conviction, and 20 years per falsification of record conviction. Prokakis faces an additional 5 year sentence for obstruction of justice. All 3 defendants are going to be sentenced on 8th of November, 2013.
Diana Shipping, Boumpoutelos and Prokakis, were indicted on 22nd May, 2013, in an eleven-count superseding indictment alleging the illegal discharging of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from vessels.
In September 2012, crew members of the cargo ship M/V Thetis, which is operated by Diana Shipping Services, reported that the ship was discharging its bilge waste and sludge illegally by divers means, which include a "magic pipe" that bypassed the oily water separator.
The inspectors of the USCG boarded the ship when it entered port in Norfolk and discovered the "magic pipe" and that the oily water separator was non-functioning.