January 12, 2001

Matson in pollution plea bargain
The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California yesterday announced that San Francisco-based Matson Navigation Company was charged with making false statements to the Coast Guard about the discharge of oil waste into the Pacific. 

The company was charged in three separate criminal actions filed yesterdayday in federal court in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle.
Also filed n each of the three districts were plea agreements signed by the United States and Matson. 

In the agreement, Matson will plead guilty to six felony charges and will pay $3 million in fines – half of which will be used to finance environmental projects in California and Washington. Of that money, $125,000 will go to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and $125,000 to the Point Reyes National Seashore. 

According to the charges, Matson made false statements to the Coast Guard in connection with the 38,000-gt Lihue.  Under federal law, lships such as the Lihue are required to maintain Oil Record Books that document the proper handling and disposal of oil and oil-contaminated waters generated on the ships. The Coast Guard is responsible for inspecting the ships and reviewing the documentation in order to determine whether the ship is following proper pollution prevention measures.

The criminal charges allege that on several occasions between 1996 and 1998, crew members on the Lihue made entries into the Oil Record Book which falsely stated that bilge waters contaminated with waste oil had been processed through the ship's oil water separator.

While entries in the Oil Record Book indicated that the bilge waters had been processed and waste oils had been removed prior to the discharge overboard of the bilge water, the oil water separator on the Lihue was not, in fact, functional.

According to the criminal charges, had the Coast Guard known of the mechanical problem on the Lihue, the agency would have prevented Matson from operating the vessel. 

In the case filed in San Francisco, Matson has agreed to plead guilty to one count of making false statements and will pay the maximum penalty of a $500,000 fine, with half of the money going to environmental projects.  Matson will plead to the same charges in Seattle, with $250,000 to go to Olympic National Park.  In the Los Angeles case, Matson will plead guilty to four felony counts of making false statements to the Coast Guard and pay a $2 million criminal fine. Half of the fine from the Los Angeles case will be devoted to Channel Islands National Park and the Santa Monica National Recreation Area.

As part of the case, Matson and the government have agreed that the company will be placed on probation for a period of three years, during which time the company must comply with a detailed environmental compliance plan and must abide by all federal, state and local environmental laws.

"You cannot lie to federal regulators in an effort to prevent them from determining whether you have polluted our waters," said U.S. Attorney Robert S. Mueller, III, in San Francisco.  "We are committed to protecting the environment against such criminal conduct."

CSO management changes
Coflexip Stena Offshore announced today that the executive committee of the CSO Group is being modified to reflect the recent acquisition of Aker Maritime's Deepwater Division. In addition, a new CFO has been namedfor the division.

Svein Eggen, who has headed up the Deepwater Division of Aker Maritime ASA since 1997,becomes a member of the CSO Group executive committee as senior executive vice president, in charge of the CSO Aker Maritime Deepwater Division.

Eggen, a Norwegian citizen, has 26 years of experience in the oil and gas service industry in both the USA and Norway. Based in Houston, he reports to Tom Ehret, COO of the CSO Group.

Stuart Bannerman, previously finance manager of CSO International in Boulogne, France, has been appointed CFO and corporate support manager of the CSO Aker Maritime Deepwater Division in Houston. Bannerman was also previously CFO of CSO Ltd in Aberdeen, Scotland.

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