Prem Kumar, also known as Premakumaran Krishnan, a citizen of India, has been added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fugitive list for failing to surrender to federal law enforcement authorities after he was indicted for his role in an illegal ocean-going vessel wastewater discharge case.
“EPA is serious about enforcing the nation’s environmental laws and making sure that those who are charged with criminal violations are held accountable,” says Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The public can help EPA by reporting any information they have on the whereabouts of Mr. Kumar on EPA’s fugitive website or to local law enforcement.”
Kumar and Fleet Management Ltd, a commercial ship management company based in Hong Kong, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Corpus Christi, Texas on April 29, 2010. Fleet Management was charged with one count of failing to maintain an accurate oil record book as required by the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), one count of making false statements, and one count of obstruction.
Kumar who worked as a marine superintendent for the company was charged in a four-count indictment with obstruction, conspiracy and making false statements.
Kumar’s responsibilities included working with and directing the engine room officers in the management of oily waste water and other waste generated on board the vessel.
On October 6, 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard was conducting a routine inspection of the M/V Lowlands Sumida, a cargo ship being operated by Fleet Management, when a crew member provided information that the vessel was illegally discharging oily wastewater directly into the ocean by bypassing the oily water separator, a required pollution control device.
A subsequent investigation by EPA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality found that the vessel’s oil record book was knowingly falsified.
Large commercial ships, like the M/V Lowlands Sumida, are required to maintain accurate oil record books to document that wastes are being property treated.
On September 9, 2010, Fleet Management Limited pleaded guilty and the company was sentenced in the Southern District of Texas to pay $3 million in fines, four years probation and ordered to establish an environmental compliance program. Under the whistleblower provision of the APPS, the court awarded $200,000 to the crew member who brought the violations to the attention of the federal government.