Chief engineer convicted in California of various pollution-related offences

Denys Korotkiy, chief engineer of 2006-built, 10,899 gt general cargo ship Donald (since January 7th 2023 named the Gaja) (IMO 9273791) was convicted by a federal jury in Southern California of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and failure to maintain an accurate oil record book for the vessel, according to documents provided by the US Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California. The convictions followed a five-day jury trial in San Diego.

The company that operated the vessel, Germany-based Interunity Management, had previously pleaded guilty to maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oily bilge water.

According to the verdict, oily bilge water was dumped from the Donald directly into the ocean through the vessel’s sewage holding tank, without being processed through the required pollution prevention equipment. The discharges were not recorded in the vessel’s oil record book. The evidence also showed that Korotkiy made false and fictitious entries in the oil record book, in which it was claimed that transfers of oily bilge had been made from the vessel’s engine room bilge wells to the vessel’s bilge holding tank. In fact those transfers had not been made.

Finally, the evidence showed that he conspired with others to obstruct the US Coast Guard’s inspection and investigation into the mishandling of oily bilge water onboard the vessel. After the trial, the court remanded Korotkiy into custody. Sentencing is scheduled for September 1st.

Interunity Management pleaded guilty to failing to accurately maintain the vessel’s oil record book. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Interunity will pay a total fine of $1.25m and serve the standard four-year term of probation, during which any vessels operated by the company and calling on US ports will be required to implement a robust Environmental Compliance Plan.