NZ fishing company convicted of oil dumping
Thu, 16 Aug 2012 8:54a.m.
A United States federal jury in Washington DC has convicted New Zealand fishing company Sanford of dumping oil waste off American Samoa and falsifying records.
The jury also convicted one of the company's employees of falsifying records, the Associated Press reports.
The Auckland-based company faces fines of up to $US3 million ($NZ3.7m).
"We can't decide whether to appeal it or not until after the sentencing," says the company's managing director, Eric Barrett.
Prosecutors said Sanford's vessel San Nikunau dumped oil from its bilges without using pollution prevention equipment. They also said the company covered this up by falsely claiming such equipment had been used.
The case was brought by the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and by the environmental crimes section of the Department of Justice.
The charges stem from an investigation by the US Coast Guard, which detained the vessel in American Samoa. Sanford had initially faced seven charges.
The San Nikunau is one of three large-scale freezer tuna purse seiners that Sanford operates in the Pacific. It targets skipjack tuna used for canning, which is typically unloaded and sold into one of the two canneries in Pago Pago.
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17/08/2012 5:47:14 p.m.
What some NZders fail to realise is that this particular vessel, although operates under the Sanford banner is in reality a foreign charter vessel. Foreign Charter Vessels are owned and operated with foreign crew who believe are not subject to NZ laws. However, this does not absolve Sanford from their responsibilities. NZ fishing companies such as Sanford, Talleys and Sealord Fisheries should take equal responsibility to employ NZders on NZ owned vessels and get rid of FCV. Until this is done these companies better have an open wallet to pay the fines that these FCV incur. After all FCV crew aren't paid to care.
17/08/2012 8:56:46 a.m.
Typical - NZ always accuses other countries of disregarding regulations, but here's a clear example of a NZ company doing exactly that - and trying to cover it up. Tip of the iceberg no doubt. Shame on you.
16/08/2012 11:08:32 a.m.
They should just lose their fishing licence with no questions. How discraceful!!
16/08/2012 9:58:54 a.m.
And after the Rena? Hang your heads in shame Sanford. Not impressed. This needs to be more publicised and massive fines..
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