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PA TANKER VESSEL OWNERS AND OPERATORS INDICTED FOR OCEAN DUMPING

Release Date: 12/11/98
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DEC. 11, 1998
TANKER VESSEL OWNERS AND OPERATORS INDICTED FOR OCEAN DUMPING

The owners and operators of the tanker vessel, M/V Command, were indicted on three Clean Water Act felony counts on Dec. 2, in U.S. District Court in San Francisco for illegally discharging bunker fuel oil into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Francisco and San Mateo counties and for failing to report the discharge. Indicted were the Pearl Shipping Corp., owner of the tanker vessel; Anax International Agencies Inc., manager and operator; Dimitrios Georgantas, the captain; and Lampros Karaganis, former chief engineer. It is alleged that when taking on fuel oil on Sept. 24, in the San Francisco harbor, a crack in the starboard fuel tank was discovered. Rather than fully drain the oil to repair the crack, more than 50,000 gallons remained in the tank during repairs. On Sept. 26, it is further alleged that the defendants knowingly discharged waste water contaminated with oil from this tank into the Pacific Ocean, leaving an oil slick that caused injury and deaths of hundreds of birds and other sea wildlife. The oil slick reached beaches, which required over $1 million dollars in clean-up costs. The defendants also allegedly failed to properly record this dumping in the ship’s logs, and failed to report their actions to the Coast Guard. This case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard, the FBI and California Department of Fish and Game.

R-166 ###