Fishing Vessel Penalised USD 2.5 Million for Polluting Waters Near American Samoa

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Image is for representative purposes only. Image Courtesy: motorship.com

Taiwanese company Yuh Fa Fishery (Vanuatu) was convicted and sentenced on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice for maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oil and garbage.

The owner of the vessel, F/V Yuh Fa No. 201, confessed that its engineers failed to document the illegal dumping of oily bilge water into the waters of the South Pacific Ocean. The engineers also reportedly made several modifications using flexible hoses to the vessel’s piping system, which allowed oily bilge water and oil sludge to be discharged directly overboard.

Other violations that the company owned up to were: during the period June 2013 to June 2016, there was a failure on the part of senior engineers to properly record the transfer and disposal of oil waste in the vessel’s Oil Record Book; the Captains of the vessel did not accurately maintain a Garbage Record Book and as a result, the company could not account for the storing, sorting and disposal of garbage during the vessel’s extended fishing trips. Consequently, tons of oil sludge, waste oil, oily bilge water, and garbage produced by the vessel remain unaccounted for.

The company pleaded guilty to two felony violations for failing to accurately maintain an Oil Record Book and a Garbage Record Book.

According to the terms of the plea agreement, Yuh Fa Fishery (Vanuatu) will pay a total fine of USD 2.5 million, which includes a community service payment of USD 625,000 for use in the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa and also, serve a 5-year period of probation.