Jail over engineer investigation obstruction

Two ship engineers were sentenced to jail on Wednesday for obstructing a US Coast Guard (USCG) investigation of suspected water pollution and illegal dumping at sea. The Philippines citizens were engineers on Oceanfleet’s general cargo vessel Ocean Hope in July last year when USCG officials inspected it in the Port of Wilmington, North Carolina.

The court found that the defendants lied to inspectors, instructed other crew to do the same and showed a doctored record book to cover up the fact that the vessel had used a “magic pipe” to dump oil sludge and bilge water into the sea, over a period of months.

Second engineer Cassius Samson was given 12 months in prison by US District Court Judge Malcolm Howard for the Eastern District of North Carolina, followed by a year of supervised release. Chief engineer Rustico Ignacio was sentenced to nine months, followed by a year of supervised release. The pair were convicted in September of conspiracy, witness tampering, obstructing justice and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.