A fishing vessel company that operated in and around American Samoa was convicted and sentenced on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice for maintaining false and incomplete records relating to the discharge of oil and garbage.
The Taiwanese company Yuh Fa Fishery (Vanuatu), owner of the F/V Yuh Fa No. 201, admitted that its engineers failed to document the illegal dumping of oily bilge water into the waters of the South Pacific Ocean.
The company also admitted that its engineers made several modifications using flexible hoses to the vessel’s piping system, which allowed oily bilge water and oil sludge to be discharged directly overboard – a so-called “magic pipe.”
The company further admitted that between June 2013 and June 2016, senior engineers regularly failed to accurately record the transfer and disposal of oil waste in the vessel’s Oil Record Book. The vessel’s captains also failed to properly maintain a Garbage Record Book, and Yuh Fa Fishery (Vanuatu) was unable to accurately account for the storing, sorting and disposal of garbage during the vessel’s extended fishing trips. As a result, tons of oil sludge, waste oil, oily bilge water, and garbage produced by the vessel remain unaccounted for.
The company pleaded guilty to two felony violations for failing to accurately maintain an Oil Record Book and a Garbage Record Book and will pay $2.5 million, which includes a community service payment of $625,000 for use in the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Yuh Fa Fishery (Vanuatu), will also serve a five-year period of probation.