Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Processor Fined for Dumping Oil and Raw Sewage

East West Seafoods LLC of Seattle has been fined $50,000 in a judgment handed down by the US District Court in Anchorage for violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the Clean Water Act and the Refuse Act.

The court ruled on March 21 that The F/V Pacific Producer, a large seafood processing vessel owned by East West Seafoods, intentionally discharged oily bilge water and raw sewage into the ocean off the coast of Alaska, and then presented false records to the US Coast Guard.

Acting US Attorney Bryan Schroder in Anchorage said that on March 15, 2013, the F/V Pacific Producer was traveling from Kodiak and grounded near Ouzinkie Narrows. While within three miles of shore, the defendants unlawfully discharged about 1,000 gallons of raw sewage into Chiniak Bay between Long Island and Spruce Island.

Then on March 29, 2013, while departing from the ferry dock at Ouzinkie, crew aboard the F/V Pacific Producer knowingly discharged a harmful quantity of oil into the water within three miles of shore, causing a sheen on the surface of the water, Schroder said. The defendants also regularly used an illegal pump system to knowingly discharge oily bilge water directly overboard, he said.

The defendants also knowingly failed to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book as required, failed to record discharges of oil into the sea through the illegal pump system, and knew that use of the pump system and failure to record the discharges was illegal, he said.

When the Coast Guard boarded the vessel in Kodiak on Jan. 27, 2014, there was raw sewage flowing from piping onto the open weather deck, Schroder said.

The defendants also unlawfully discharged raw sewage into St. Paul Harbor while the vessel was within three miles of shore at Kodiak without a permit, he said.

The 75-percent owner of the seafood processing firm, and operator of the F/V Pacific Producer, Christos Tsabouris, 78, of Kodiak, was fined $10,000 and put on probation for five years for his role in the offenses, as was the company itself. During the probationary period the company will be subject to a heightened level of scrutiny, including warrantless searches of its vessels and places of business based on reasonable suspicion of violation of the law.

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