Corporations plead guilty to pollution conspiracy to hide oil discharges at sea

Sept. 9, 2002
Three executives of Boyang Maritime Yeong Shin Deep Sea Fisheries Co. of Pusan, Korea, were indicted in U.S. District Court in connection with the discharge of oil from cargo ships in Alaskan waters.

Sept. 9, 2002 -- On Aug. 22, in Seok Yang, Gum Hyang Kwon and Young Min Han, all executives of Boyang Maritime Yeong Shin Deep Sea Fisheries Co. of Pusan, Korea, were indicted in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska in Anchorage for their alleged roles in an ocean pollution conspiracy involving the direct discharges of oil from a fleet of large, refrigerated cargo ships that regularly travel through Alaska waters.

The indictment charges the individuals of conspiracy to lie to the U.S. Coast Guard in order to conceal the dumping of waste oil from the ships and to obstruct the investigation of the agency and the grand jury.

On the same date, Boyang Maritime, Boyang Limited, Trans-Ports International and Oswego Limited all pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, to being part of a wide-ranging conspiracy designed to hide routine discharges of oil sludge and oil contaminated bilge waste directly into the ocean from their fleet of ships since at least 1995.

Each company pleaded guilty to a 10-count felony information charging that they worked together to maintain false log books, obstruct justice and tamper with witnesses in order to avoid the expenditure of time, money and other resources that would have been required to comply with the laws designed to prevent oil pollution from ships.

If the plea is approved by the court, the corporate defendants will pay a $5 million fine, institute and pay for a comprehensive court-monitored environmental compliance plan and serve five years on probation. One million dollars of the fine will be directed to go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be used for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, an area that encompasses the Aleutian Islands.

In addition, they will be required to set aside $500,000 in an escrow account as an initial funding for the cost of implementing the environmental plan.

This case was investigated by EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney's office in Anchorage and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice in Washington.

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