Pacific International Lines Admits to Oil Pollution Crime

Pacific International Lines Ltd., a Singapore-based freighter company, agreed to plead guilty to failing to track oily waste from a ship and to other pollution-related charges.

The closely held shipper was accused of giving U.S. authorities a false accounting of bilge-waste discharges and of lacking proper pollution control equipment aboard a container ship during an inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard in American Samoa, according to a plea agreement filed yesterday in federal court in Washington.

The company agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $2.2 million, including a $2 million fine and community service payments of $100,000 each to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for projects in or near American Samoa, according to a joint sentencing recommendation that is subject to court approval.

The violations were discovered in an annual inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard after the vessel arrived in Pago Pago, American Samoa, last June.

Pacific International and an attorney for the company in San Francisco, John Cox, didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed requests for comment on the plea before business hours.

The Pacific International plea agreement is the second recent criminal case the Justice Department has brought involving pollution charges against international shippers in American Samoa.

Sanford Ltd., New Zealand’s second-biggest fishing company, was fined $1.9 million by a U.S. judge on Jan. 10 for discharging oily waste into the sea around the island territory and covering up its actions. The chief engineer of the Sanford tuna vessel involved in the pollution was ordered jailed for one month and fined $6,000.

The Pacific International case is U.S. v. Pacific International Lines Ltd., 13-cr-19, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.