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Man Convicted for Obstruction of Justice & False Statements for Certifying Ships Safe for Sea

The Maritime Executive reports that a federal jury in Miami convicted a Miami-based ship surveyor for lying to the Coast Guard and for falsely certifying the safety of ships at sea. Alejandro Gonzalez, 60, of Miami-Dade County was convicted by a federal jury in Miami of three counts of making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard and one count of obstruction of an agency proceeding. The defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison on each count.

The jury found Gonzalez guilty of lying to U.S. Coast Guard inspectors and a criminal investigator during an interview in April 2009 about the dry-docking of the M/V CALA GALDANA, a 68 mt cargo vessel, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Gonzalez repeatedly claimed the vessel was dry-docked in Cartagena, Colombia, in March 2006, while evidence at the trial proved conclusively that the vessel was never in Colombia during 2006.

Gonzalez was also convicted of falsifying documents in December 2009 for the M/V COSETTE, a 92 mt cargo vessel.  As the surveyor on behalf of Bolivia, Gonzalez certified the ship as safe for sea while the vessel was docked in Fort Pierce in November 2009.  When the vessel shortly thereafter arrived in New York City harbor, U.S. Coast Guard inspectors discovered exhaust and fuel pouring into the ship’s engine room, endangering the crew and the ship.  For his action, Gonzalez was convicted of making a false statement and obstructing a U.S. Coast Guard Port State Control examination.

The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaime Raich (a former colleague for a short time) and Trial Attorney Kenneth Nelson, of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. Sentencing is currently scheduled for August 2, 2012, in Miami.

The full article from the Maritime Executive can be seen here => http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/man-convicted-for-obstruction-of-justice-false-statements-for-certifying-ships-safe-for-sea.

If you are interested in contacting me, you may do so at miamipandi@comcast.net.

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