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A New Zealand fishing company has been ordered to pay $2.4 million and sentenced to three years of probation for dumping oil waste into U.S. waters off American Samoa. The chief engineer on the company's ship faces a month in prison for falsifying records in an effort to cover up the dumping.
U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell imposed the penalties on Friday, directing Sanford Ltd. to pay a $1.9 criminal fine and to make a $500,000 community service payment to National Marine Sanctuaries, trustee for the nation's system of marine protected areas. During the probationary period, Sanford is banned from fishing in U.S. waters unless it petitions the court and shows compliance with an environmental compliance program.
A federal jury returned guilty verdicts in a trial last summer against Sanford and the chief engineer, James Pogue. Pogue also was sentenced to 150 days of home confinement and two years of supervised release.
Sanford was paid more than $24 million for tuna deliveries by its ship, the San Nikunau, to a cannery in Pago Pago on American Samoa from March 2007 to July 2011.
Sanford was convicted of conspiracy and causing the San Nikunau to enter port with a falsified oil record book that failed to account for how the ship was managing its bilge waste. Pogue was convicted of obstruction and failing to maintain an accurate oil record book.
Another chief engineer in the Sanford case, Rolando Ong Vano of the Philippines, pleaded guilty to failing to keep an accurate oil record book and was sentenced to probation for one year.