Video shot by a deckhand acted as a key piece of evidence that helped convict the owner of a Puget Sound fishing vessel for violating the Clean Water Act.
A federal jury handed down a “guilty” verdict earlier this week after the week-long trial of Bingham Fox, who owns the 80 foot Native Sun.
Jurors determined that Fox intentionally dumped oily bilge water into the port of Blaine, Wash.
The U.S. Coast Guard were alerted to the pollution scheme by a deckhand named Anthony, who shot cell phone video of a makeshift pump that sucked oily sludge from the Native Sun’s hull and pumped it into the ocean and the Puget Sound.
Crime committed for over 2 years:
Authorities believe the Native Sun did not have a working oily water separator for at least two years. The device is a filter commonly found on commercial vessels. It removes oil from seawater and allows the filtered seawater to be pumped back into the ocean.
The Coast Guard says Native Sun would routinely pump out oil and water at night.
Discharge masked using emulsifiers:
Charging documents say owner Bingham Fox and his son Randall Fox purchased bulk soap and emulsifiers to help disperse the oily sheen that would collect around their ship during the dumps.
On the incriminating video, Anthony introduces himself and says “I got to show you this, authorities.” The tape shows him walking down into the ship’s engine room and pointing to a blue pipe that is pumping the oil and bilge water above decks and overboard into Blaine harbour.
The Coast Guard Commander in Seattle, Darwin Jensen, says his office relies on citizen tips to catch polluters.
Bingham Fox faces a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. His son Randall Fox, who also pled guilty to conspiracy charges, faces 11 years and a $500,000 fine. This judgement will be a lesson for all those who cause harm to the environment for their own selfish motives.
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Source: King 5