San Diego-based JM Fisheries LLC, G.S. Fisheries Inc., the companies’ manager, and the chief engineer of the commercial fishing vessel Capt. Vincent Gann have agreed to pay a total of $725,000 in civil penalties to settle federal Clean Water Act claims related to oil pollution violations on the vessel.
he companies and their manager have also agreed to perform corrective measures to prevent future Clean Water Act violations, the US Department of Justice reported.
The United States alleges in a civil complaint filed yesterday that, on 20 April, 2018, the defendants discharged oil and oily mixtures from the fishing vessel Capt. Vincent Gann’s engine room bilge into Pago Pago Harbor, American Samoa, while performing repairs on the vessel. The Coast Guard responded to the discharge in the harbour and oversaw the clean-up efforts.
The complaint further alleges a host of violations of pollution control regulations, including a failure to properly maintain and operate the vessel’s onboard oily water treatment system and a non-approved bypass modification to the system. JM Fisheries LLC subsequently reimbursed the Coast Guard for the clean-up work.
To resolve the claims in the complaint, the consent decree requires the companies and company manager James Sousa to perform corrective measures on all vessels they own or operate. These measures include:
- hiring an independent maritime consultant to conduct a top-to-bottom review of each vessel’s oil handling practices and operations;
- providing crewmembers with training on proper operation and maintenance of the oily water separator system and on the required recordkeeping associated with the system;
- documenting transfers of oil within and to each vessel, and;
- submitting compliance reports to the US Coast Guard and Department of Justice.
Additionally, the consent decree requires them to pay a joint civil penalty of $720,000. The stipulated settlement agreement requires the Capt. Vincent Gann’s chief engineer, Edward DaCosta, to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 to resolve the claims alleged against him in the complaint.
The penalty paid for this discharge and other violations will be deposited in the federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund managed by the National Pollution Funds Center.