Maritime polluters punished

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JUNE 15 — The chief engineer of a chemical tanker was sentenced Tuesday to serve five months in prison and pay a fine for his role in illegally dumping waste oil from the vessel.

Fernando Magnaye, who is 45 and of the Philippines, was ordered to serve the prison term and pay a $3,000 fine in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., a U.S. Department of Justice news release says. Magnaye pleaded guilty in February to charges of presenting a false document and attempting to obstruct a Coast Guard investigation.

Magnaye, who was the chief engineer aboard the Bahamas-flagged chemical tanker Clipper Trojan, was responsible for managing engine room operations and for recording oil transfers and discharges into a log, the release says. During a June 15, 2006, inspection of the vessel in port Newark, Magnaye provided Coast Guard inspectors with the log and claimed the information inside was accurate.

During his plea hearing, Magnaye admitted to having knowledge of illegal discharges of oil sludge and contaminated bilge waste from the Clipper Trojan but failed to record them in the log, says the release. He further admitted to asking an engineer to make sure the inspectors would take a false reading of the contents of the vessel’s bilge sludge oil tank.

The three companies that own the Clipper Trojan were issued an 11-count indictment in March alleging that Magnaye and a number of other crewmembers were aware of the illegal dumping, the release says.

Jason Fell