Chief engineer pleads guilty to polluting

Posted: Sunday, June 02, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A chief engineer of a tramper has pleaded guilty in federal court to two crimes related to discharging oily waste into the ocean.

In Ho Kim, the chief engineer of the Khana, admitted that he kept a false log that concealed the dumping of waste oil and sludge from the ship. He also admitted that he tampered with witnesses by instructing his engine crew to lie to the U.S. Coast Guard and the federal grand jury in Anchorage.

The guilty pleas come as a result of an ongoing investigation of four foreign flagged freight ships that arrived in Dutch Harbor in January. Two of the ships, including the Khana, are Panamanian. Je Jong Lee, the chief engineer of the other Panamanian ship, pleaded guilty to similar charges on Tuesday.

Kim admitted that the engine crew of the Khana attached a hose directly to the ship's overboard discharge valve in order to release oily bilge water and oil sludge directly into the ocean. The discharges were not recorded in the vessel's log book.

Kim is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 14. Under the terms of a plea agreement, he could receive up to two years in jail.

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