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Two Maritime Companies and Shipp’s Engineer Pleads guilty in Washington State Oil Spill Case

Release Date: 01/15/2003
Contact Information:

Teresa Libera 202-564-7873 /

(01/15/03) Unix Line PTE Ltd., a Singapore Corp.; Springs Navigation, S.A., a Panamanian Corp.; and Hyeong-Bin Jeong, Chief Engineer of the M/T Kaede all plead guilty on Dec. 20 to federal crimes arising out of an Oct. 22, 2002 oil spill from the Kaede into Commencement Bay. Springs Navigation and Unix Line jointly own and operate the Kaede. Both corporations pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act for causing the oil spill. Unix also plead guilty to a felony for making false statements to the Coast Guard. Jeong plead guilty to a misdemeanor for the oil spill and he plead to a false statement felony for making false entries in the Kaede’s Oil Record Book. The spill came from oil that had collected in a piping system aboard the ship. When the spill was investigated, it was learned that the Kaede regularly used the piping system to dump waste oil overboard while at sea. These discharges were concealed by false entries in the ship’s Oil Record Book. Discharging oil at sea can harm fish and aquatic life. The plea agreement calls for the companies to pay a collective fine of $750,000, develop and implement a comprehensive environmental management plan and serve four years probation. Jeong faces a maximum potential sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. The case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Coast Guard with assistance from the Washington State Department of Ecology. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.