The U.S. District Court in Seattle found Randall Fox, former-captain of the fishing vessel Native Sun, guilty Thursday of “discharging oily waste directly into the ocean,” according to a Justice Department press release.
The jury found that Fox had violated the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) when he used unapproved pumps and hoses to clean out the ship’s ballast tank and pump bilge slop into the ocean. The violation is considered a felony and Fox faces a max sentence of six years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
“Today’s conviction shows that illegal dumping in our oceans will not be tolerated,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeff Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said in a statement. “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.”
A crew member used a cellphone to film Fox releasing the chemical-filled sludge into the water. The crew member later showed the video to authorities.
Fox’s father, Bingham Fox, was convicted of the same crime a year ago. The father and son duo was charged with polluting the ocean at the same time. Randall Fox had at first pled guilty to the crime, then retracted his plea and asked to go to trial, delaying his court date. Bingham Fox went straight to trial.
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