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Engineer pleads guilty to dumping oil near Morehead City

Posted May 3, 2010

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— The chief engineer of a cargo ship pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to dumping oil in the waters around the state port in Morehead City.

Vaja Sikharulidze, 59, pleaded guilty to failing to keep an accurate oil record book on a tanker.

The charge stems from the illegal discharge in March of about 13,200 gallons of used oil from the ship Chem Faros into the water near the port. Ships can discharge oil-contaminated bilge waste if it is processed through on-board pollution prevention equipment, which is used to separate the water from the oil and other wastes, and the effluent contains no more than 15 parts per million of oil.

Federal authorities said they suspect the ship was dumping oil into the water as far back as September, but they could prove only the March incident.

Sikharulidze, a citizen of the nation of Georgia, was ordered to remain on the ship, which is being held in port, until his sentencing in August. He faces up to six years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“The importance of keeping pollutants out of our natural resources has been realized over the last 30 years, and pollution prevention acts, such as the one that has been violated, were put in place to protect these resources," U.S. Attorney George Holding said in a statement. "We take violations of these acts very seriously because we want to ensure that we protect our natural resources for future generations."

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  • dplowman May 3, 2010

    Should have just went down to the gulf and let it out who would have known?

  • joel May 3, 2010

    On a more relevant note, I'm infuriated at this Georgian who's been dumping used oil in the waters I swim and fish in on vacation. And for what? Sheer laziness, to save a few bucks?

  • davido May 3, 2010

    Yeah, whatever. Some live in the nation of Georgia. I live in the Peoples Republic of Chapel Hill. :-)

  • Nunya123 May 3, 2010

    Another fine example of the American education system.

  • s.wake.co May 3, 2010

    Georgia is bordered to the north by southern Russia, and to the south by Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

  • PookieYam May 3, 2010

    Lol Roll! Good one.

  • Dr. Ben Dover May 3, 2010

    Fairy - you might want to pick up a book sometime - or at least a newspaper.
    It took me about 30 seconds to find:
    "Georgia, situated at the dividing line of Asia and Europe, is an ancient country of rugged mountains and very determined people.

    Annexed by Russia in 1801, it regained its sovereignty in 1918. It then suffered through 70 years of Communist rule and suppression, finally declaring its independence from Russia in 1991."

  • Rolling Along May 3, 2010

    Obviously not well versed on world geography:

    Georgia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_%28country%29

  • FireFaerie88 aka snugglebunny May 3, 2010

    "Sikharulidze, a citizen of the nation of Georgia"

    .....seriously? the "nation" of Georgia? LOL