WILMINGTON — Two cargo ship engineers charged with dumping ship waste directly into the ocean off the North Carolina Port of Wilmington will spend several months in federal prison.
Cassius Samson, 52, and Rustico Ignacio, 66, both of the Philippines, were convicted in September of conspiracy, violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. The men were sentenced on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Ignacio was the chief engineer on the cargo ship “Ocean Hope” and received a nine-month sentence. Samson was the second engineer who lower-level crewmembers said directly ordered the dumping with Ignacio’s knowledge. Samson received a year-long sentence.
Ignacio and Samson were found, on at least two occasions, to have dumped oil sludge and machinery space bilge water before reaching the United States and attempting to cover it up.
A maximum penalty of 20 years was possible for the pair.
The vessel’s Greek owner, Oceanic Illsabe Limited, and its Greek managing operator, Oceanfleet Shipping Limited, were also convicted. Their sentencing is set for January 2017.
The case was investigated by various divisions of the U.S. Coast Guard and was prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.