Michigan man sentenced on charges related to boat sinking

Lady JusticeCLEVELAND – A Cheboygan, Mich., mariner has been sentenced to 50 months in custody as a result of having been found guilty on charges related to the sinking of a boat and polluting the water, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced Wednesday.

Wayne T. Duffiney, 60, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington and ordered to pay $57,308.05 in restitution to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Duffiney was convicted by a federal jury in April of 2009 in Bay City, Mich., on three of four charges stemming from his conduct on May 14 through 17, 2007. He was convicted of violating the federal Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants into the navigable waters of the United States; sinking or causing the sinking of the Misty Morning in the navigable channels of Lake Huron; and of failing to mark the sunken vessel with navigation aids after it was sunk in the navigation channel of Lake Huron.

“The Great Lakes are true national treasures of the United States and Canada,” said Rear Adm. Michael N. Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. “As such, we are committed to working with our local, state, federal and international partners any time someone harms the lakes, whether accidentally or intentionally, and to prosecute the individuals who commit those acts.”

Duffiney was acquitted on the charge that alleged willfully causing and permitting destruction and injury to the Misty Morning in the territorial waters of the United States.

He failed to appear in federal court in Bay City for a sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 30, 2009. He was arrested eight months later in Costa Rico as a result of a cooperative investigation conducted by the U.S. Marshal Service and Interpol, and eventually returned to Michigan for sentencing on Nov. 16, 2010.

“Michigan’s greatest assets are our lakes and other natural resources, and protecting them are the key to our future,” McQuade said. “Cases like this one are important to deter others from polluting.”

Administrative forfeiture of the vessels used by Duffiney to tow the Misty Morning, as well as a loss of his mariner’s license, are additional potential consequences of the convictions in this case.

The initial criminal case was investigated by the Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The prosecution was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bay City, Mich.

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