Coast Guard investigates fishing vessel for discharging oil in Canadian waters

JUNEAU, Alaska – Investigators from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage and Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Dutch Harbor, and Coast Guard Investigative Service agents are investigating the fishing vessel Mark I for knowingly discharging oil overboard in Canadian waters.

A Transport Canada aircrew detected the Mark I transiting through the Canadian exclusive economic zone 97-miles off of Cape St. James, British Columbia, with an approximate 26-mile oil sheen trailing behind, July 7.

Coast Guard pollution response investigators and CGIS agents boarded the Mark I in Dutch Harbor, Friday. During the boarding they found evidence that bilge waste and oil had been discharged overboard.

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port in Anchorage determined that the Mark I poses a substantial threat to the marine environment and ordered the vessel to perform certain marine environmental actions and cleanup.

“The Coast Guard is committed to protecting the world’s oceans from pollution crimes,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Bell Jr., Coast Guard 17th District commander. “We value our international, federal, state, local and tribal partners who cooperate with us to do just that.”

Vessels documented in the United States are prohibited from discharging oil or oily water anywhere they may sail. Those that discharge oil or oily waste within U.S. waters are subject to the Clean Water Act. Those that discharge oil or oily waste outside of U.S. waters are subject to the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. Violating either Act is a Class D Felony that can result in up to 10 years confinement and a criminal fine up to $250,000. Violations can also trigger civil penalties of up to $72,718 for each violation. Each day of a continuing violation constitutes a separate violation.

The Mark I is an 88-foot fishing vessel homeported in Seattle, Washington.

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