A former fishing vessel captain is facing up to six years in prison and large fine after a jury found him guilty of discharging oily waste directly into the ocean in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.
Randall Fox, one-time captain of the fishing vessel Native Sun, was found guilty of the crimes in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Thursday. The jury deliberated 5 hours following a three-day trial for crimes related to the illegal dumping of oily waste near Blaine, Washington and offshore.
Fox now faces a maximum of six years in prison and a criminal fine of up to $250,000.
In court, prosecutors alleged that Randall Fox discharged bilge slops from the Native Sun directly overboard into the ocean using unapproved pumps and hoses. One of these discharges was video-recorded by a crewmember, who reported the crime to authorities. Other evidence at trial established that the Native Sun had repeatedly pumped its bilges in the same manner depicted in the video.
The conviction comes one year after Bingham Fox, the defendant’s father and the owner of the Native Sun, was convicted at trial of related crimes.
The original indictment, handed down in April 2016, alleged that starting in 2011 and continuing into 2013, Bingham and Randall Fox discharged and caused other crewmembers to illegally discharge oil and other pollutants into U.S. coastal waters near Blaine, Washington, and at sea where the ship operated.
According to court documents related to Bingham Fox’s case, oily waste was repeatedly discharged from the vessel using unapproved submersible pumps and hoses. Evidence presented at trial showed the Native Sun had multiple, long-term, mechanical problems that put substantial amounts of oil in its bilges. Bingham Fox had at least one illegal pump installed on board and directed others to regularly dump oily waste from the bilges, even in port.
“Today’s conviction shows that illegal dumping in our oceans will not be tolerated,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeff Wood, of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), referring to Randall Fox’s conviction. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with our partners like the U.S. Coast Guard to aggressively prosecute criminals that pollute the oceans.”
The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships specifically prohibits the discharge of bilge slops and other oily mixtures, unless they have been properly treated using approved pollution prevention equipment and meet rigorous standards.