The owner of the fishing vessel Native Sun has been convicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle of discharging oily waste directly into coastal waters of the State of Washington, a felony violation of the Clean Water Act.
U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik scheduled sentencing for Bingham Fox, the owner of the vessel, for July 11, 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Namely, court documents show that Fox, and others associated with the Native Sun, repeatedly discharged oily wastes into the ocean using unapproved submersible pumps and hoses.
The Native Sun had multiple, long-term, mechanical problems that put substantial amounts of oil in its bilges. In addition, the vessel was leaky, so the bilges were constantly filling with a mixture of oil and seawater. The owner had at least one illegal pump installed on board and directed others to regularly dump oily waste from the bilges, even in port.
Bingham Fox faces up to five years in prison and a criminal fine of up to USD 250,000 for this conviction. On March 17, 2017, his son Randall Fox pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to discharge oily wastes into the ocean when the Native Sun was offshore.
Randall Fox faces a maximum of six years in prison for the APPS count and five years in prison for the conspiracy count. He also faces a criminal fine of up to USD 250,000 for each count. His sentencing is scheduled for June 16, 2017.
“This criminal conviction clearly shows that treating our oceans as a dump has serious consequences,” Jeff Wood, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), said.