US Fines Fishing Company $2.5m For Pollution Cover-Up
A US court has fined a Vanuatu-owned fishing vessel company USD2.5 million for covering up the illegal discharge of oily waste in and around American Samoa in the South Pacific.
Yuh Fa Fishery (Vanuatu) admitted that engineers on board its Yuh Fa No. 201fishing vessel failed to document the illegal dumping of oily bilge water into the South Pacific through using a “magic pipe” to bypass use of the required pollution prevention equipment. The discharge had not been logged in the vessel’s oil record book, as required by law. The vessel had also not kept any records of the disposal of rubbish during extended fishing trips.
After the company pleaded guilty to violating ship pollution prevention law, it was fined USD2.5 million, including USD625,000 to go to the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa; it will also serve a five-year period of probation.
In a similar case, two German companies – MST Mineralien Schiffarht Spedition Und Transport GmbH and Reederei MS “Marguerita” GmbH & Co. Geschlossene Investment KG – have also been charged in Maine with failing to keep accurate pollution control records and falsifying records.
The charges relate to the alleged cover-up of overboard discharges of oily mixtures and bilge water from the Liberia-flagged cargo vessel Marguerita in US waters on at least eight occasions between September 2016 and June 2017. The companies were also charged with intent to impede, obstruct, or influence inspections and examinations by the US coastguard.