Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pena: Deficient MARPOL survey conviction affirmed

In U.S. v. Pena, No. 10-15928 (June 20, 2012), the Court held that the United States has jurisdiction to prosecute a surveyor for violating statutes and regulations implementing the International Convention for the Prevent of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), in the inspection of a ship under the flag of another nation, docked in the United States.
Reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the indictment raised for the first time on appeal, the Court found no actual prejudice from any deficiency in the indictment. The Court rejected the argument that the indictment failed to adequately describe the nature of the ship "survey" MARPOL requires.
The Court also rejected a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, pointing out that Pena admitted that he not tested an oily water separator because he knew the separator was not working, yet issued a certificate which noted no deficiencies.