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Company CEO Convicted in Illegal Ocean Dumping Case

Release Date: 12/08/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 /

(12/08/04) Rick D. Stickle, Chairman and CEO of Sabine Transportation Inc., of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was convicted on Nov. 23 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami on charges of conspiracy, and of obstructing a Coast Guard investigation by giving false statements. The charges arose from the improper ocean dumping of approximately 442 metric tons of wheat that had become contaminated with diesel fuel. The dumping took place in the South China Sea in February 1999. The wheat had been intended for humanitarian relief in Bangladesh, but it had become contaminated with oil while on the ship. Rather than pay for proper disposal of the wheat, the defendant engaged in a conspiracy to dump it at sea and falsely claim that it had been processed through the ship’s pollution control equipment before it was discharged. In reality, the pollution control equipment aboard the ship was not designed to handle this type of waste. Dumping of oily wastes which have not been properly passed through pollution control equipment can harm fish and aquatic life. Sabine Transportation, and other defendants; Michael R. Reeve, President of Sabine; Michael M. Krider, Port Engineer, George K. McKay, Master of the S.S. Juneau; and Phillip J. Hitchens, Chief Officer of the S.S. Juneau, previously pleaded guilty in this case. The case was investigated by the St. Louis and Jacksonville Area Offices of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of Florida, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Iowa and the Environmental Crimes Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.