The owner and operator of Liquimar Tankers Management Services and Evridiki Navigation Inc. has been ordered to pay $3 million in criminal fines and serve five years on probation for obstructing justice and concealing deliberate pollution.
A District Court Judge in Delaware issued the sentence following a conviction on all charges at trial. The charges included violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, falsifying ships’ documents, obstructing a Coast Guard inspection and making false statements to inspectors.
In March 2019, the Coast Guard inspected the MT Evridiki in Delaware Bay after a delivery of crude oil. During the inspection, Liquimar, Evridiki and the ship’s Chief Engineer, Nikolaos Vastardis, deliberately tried to deceive Coast Guard inspectors regarding the use of the ship’s oily water separator (OWS) and oil content meter (OCM). Authorities determined Vastardis used a hidden valve to trap fresh water inside the sample line. This made the OCM sensor register zero parts per million concentration of oil instead of showing the real amount being discharged overboard.
Experts used data recovered from the machine’s memory chip to prove the OCM was being deceived with fresh water. Upon completion of a forensic examination of the ship’s computers, experts were also able to prove Liquimar made and used fake safety and environmental certificates. Authorities found at least three senior employees were involved with creating and sending the fake certificates. They related to the calibration of the OCM and whether pressure relief valves for the cargo were actually tested properly.
Oil Tanker Owner and Operator to Pay $3 Million Criminal Fine for Obstructing Justice and Concealing Pollution