18 Apr 2012

Former engineer of NZ based vessel pleads guilty to pollution charges

10:23 am on 18 April 2012

A former engineer of the New Zealand based fishing vessel San Nikunau has pleaded guilty in a US Federal court to violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.

Rolando Ong Vano served as the chief engineer on the Sanford Limited owned vessel during several fishing trips in the Pacific between March 2006 and July 2011.

Sanford Limited, and another former chief engineer of the vessel have been charged with obstruction of justice and also Act to Prevent Pollution violations, and are currently awaiting trial.

Charges against the defendants including Vano was during the time the vessel was fishing in American Samoa waters.

According to the plea agreement, Vano admitted to falsifying the oil record book and lying to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors that the oil water separator was used on the vessel when in fact it was not.

The Coast Guard discovered the violations during an inspection of the vessel in American Samoa in July 2011.

Sentencing in this matter is currently scheduled for September.