Ship captain convicted in obstruction case

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A ship’s captain was convicted of obstructing a Coast Guard inspection last September in the port of Mobile, Ala., after the vessel discharged hundreds of plastic pipes into the ocean.

Prastana Taohim, 38, former captain of the Panama-flagged cargo ship M/V Gaurav Prem, was convicted last week by a federal jury in Mobile of two counts of obstruction of justice, MarineLink.com reported.

Trial witnesses testified that Taohim ordered the ship’s chief officer to throw hundreds of plastic pipes into the ocean and not record the discharge in the ship’s garbage record book. The record book is a required log that the Coast Guard regularly inspects.

Taohim made the record book available during a Coast Guard inspection of the vessel on Sept. 21 in the port of Mobile. The plastic pipes had previously contained insecticide and were used to fumigate a grain shipment.

Taohim was found guilty of obstructing the Coast Guard’s inspection of the ship. The jury also found him guilty of one count of obstruction of justice related to covering up the pollution by creating a false and fictitious garbage log.

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