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Norwegian Shipping Company Sentenced to Pay $3.5 Million Fine
Release Date: 07/14/2004
Christopher Lagan 202-564-7338 / firstname.lastname@example.org
(07/14/04) Hoegh Fleet Services, a Norwegian operator of ocean-going cargo ships, was sentenced to pay a $3.5 million fine for seven felony violations of U.S. federal law. Hoegh’s was found guilty of keeping a falsified Oil Record book, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard. Hoegh was ordered to develop a comprehensive environmental plan for all 38 of its ships that visit U.S. waters and ordered to serve four years probation. According to court documents, the investigation began in September 2003 after a whistleblower from the crew of the vessel Hoegh Minerva informed authorities that members of the crew had allegedly used a bypass pipe to route waste oil around the oil-water separator in the ship’s pollution control system. Investigators later uncovered evidence indicating that the ship’s Oil Record Book contained false entries. Falsifying Oil Record Books can prevent regulators from determining if ships are in compliance with federal law. Sentencing was handed down on June 29 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle offices of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Los Angeles and Portland Offices of U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Office with assistance from the Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program. It was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.