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TWO COMPANIES AND TWO SHIP CAPTAINS PLEAD GUILTY TO OIL POLLUTION CHARGES

Release Date: 12/29/2000
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, DEC. 29, 2000

TWO COMPANIES AND TWO SHIP CAPTAINS
PLEAD GUILTY TO OIL POLLUTION CHARGES


On Dec. 19, Elmhirst Pte., Ltd., a Singaporean company that owns the Tanker Vessel “Neptune Dorado,” Polembros Shipping Limited, a Liberian company that manages the ship, and Kiriakos Diaoglou, the ship’s captain all pleaded guilty to violating the Ports and Waterways Safety Act. The defendants’ crimes occurred in August when they failed to inform the Coast Guard that oil had seeped into the ballast tanks of the ship, creating the potential for a serious explosion and the release of oil into San Francisco Bay. Hristoforos Sotiriadas, the ship’s former captain, pleaded guilty to failing to disclose the hazardous condition of the ship when he turned it over to Diaoglou in June. The companies were sentenced to $2.5 million in civil and criminal penalties and entered into a Corporate Compliance Agreement which will subject the entire Polembros fleet to oversight by an independent auditor and increased inspections. As a part of the plea agreement, Diaoglou will pay a $25,000 fine and Sotiriadas will pay a $5,000 fine. In addition, both men will be banned from operating vessels in the United States for a year and will have to go through re-training and re-certification before they can again operate vessels in American waters. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard and the FBI, and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.

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