–Consequences of making false or misleading statements
Seafarers must always keep an accurate Oil Record Book and tell the truth to government officials investigating possible pollution crimes. If they do not, they face possible prosecution under a variety of obstruction of justice statutes in the U.S.
- False Statements: If a vessel owner, operator and/or individual crew member presents a false statement (orally or in writing, in a log book for example) to the authorities—either directly or indirectly through other crew members on the vessel—the owner and/or operator can be fined an additional $5,000 for each false declaration. The court can assess a separate violation and a fine for each day the violations continue.4
- Conspiracy: If two or more crew members (or company employees) work together to commit an offense against the U.S. (or any U.S. agency) and act to carry it out, he or she faces a fine or imprisonment up to five years, or both.5
- Obstruction of Justice: If you or anyone else involved in the investigation (another crew member, owner, agent) tries to use threats or force to influence or obstruct an investigating agency of U.S. (including USCG inspection/investigation), you may face a criminal penalty of imprisonment up to five years, a $250,000 fine, or both.6
- Witness Tampering: U.S. authorities vigorously investigate and prosecute individuals and corporations suspected of tampering with witnesses in connection with an ongoing investigation of pollution and/or illegal discharge incidents.
If someone uses or tries to use physical force, intimidation, or threats to try to stop someone from giving testimony, to hide or destroy a document, or to interfere with the communications to a U.S. law enforcement officer or judge, that person may face a fine, imprisonment from 3 to 20 years, or both. They may also face any punishment associated with the offense he or she tried to cover up.7
Falsification of Records/Obstruction of Justice
- If a court finds the records in a federal investigation have been destroyed, altered or falsified, it may impose a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for the person responsible.8
4 18 U.S.C. § 1001.
5 18 U.S.C. § 371.
6 8 U.S.C. § 1505.
7 18 U.S.C. § 1512.
8 18 U.S.C. § 1519.