KooÆs Shipping fined for dumping oil bilge
Koo's Shipping Co., a Taiwanese corporation, pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court Thursday to charges of making false statements, knowingly failing to accurately maintain an oil record book as required by international treaty and U.S. law, and for knowingly discharging oily bilge waste into Pago Pago Harbor, American Samoa, without using proper pollution prevention equipment.
The company was sentenced to pay a $750,000 criminal fine and pay $250,000 towards community service projects in American Samoa, and was placed on probation for three years. The community service payment will be split equally between the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for environmental restoration and protection projects in American Samoa.
'Koo's is paying a just price for knowingly discharging oily waste into the ecologically sensitive harbor of Pago Pago,' said Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno, head of the Environment and Natural Resources Division for the Justice Department, in a statement. 'This penalty will help restore and protect the environment of American Samoa.'
During its probation, Koo's Shipping will be required to implement a comprehensive environmental compliance plan which will ensure that each of the ships owned or operated by Koo's complies with all maritime environmental requirements established under applicable international, flag state, and port state laws. An independent monitor will report to the court about Koo's compliance with its obligations during the period of probation.
Koo's Shipping had owned and operated the 4,491-gross-ton ship Syota Maru that carried frozen fish and fish products mostly in the Pacific and into American Samoa.
On Aug. 17, 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment in American Samoa conducted an inspection of the vessel in Pago Pago. The agency learned from inspecting the engine room and interviewing crewmembers that the crew had been discharging oily bilge waste directly into the ocean without using the required pollution prevention equipment.