9 Jan 2013

US Justice Department recommends 3 million dollar fine for NZ's Sanford

11:31 am on 9 January 2013

The U.S. Justice Department has filed its 18 page sentencing recommendation with the Federal court for New Zealand fishing company, Sanford.

A jury at the federal court in Washington D.C. last August convicted Sanford after its vessel, the San Nikunau dumped oil waste into waters outside American Samoa and of falsifying records.

The jury also convicted James Pogue, a chief engineer on the San Nikunau, of falsification of records.

The charge stems from the company's fishing vessel San Nikunau's visits to Pago Pago over the years. The company was convicted on six of seven counts.

The U.S. Justice Department has recommended Sanford be given a criminal penalty of 3 million US dollars.

It also wants part of that money designated to community service which will benefit the marine sanctuary in American Samoa, according to federal court documents.

It has also called for a five year probation period that prohibits Sanford's vessels calling on U.S. ports - including American Samoa.

Though this can be lifted after one year if Sanford implements an Environmental Compliance Plan satisfactory to the court.

Court documents also say the 3 million criminal penalty will help to deter other fishing companies engaging in such practices in American Samoa.