Father and son indicted in fishing vessel pollution case

APRIL 8, 2016 — The father and son owner and captain of a commercial fishing vessel, the Native Sun, were indicted Thursday for conspiracy and for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS).

According to the indictment, starting in 2011 and continuing into 2013, Bingham and Randall Fox discharged and caused other crew members to illegally discharge oil and other pollutants into waters of the United States, coastal waters near Blaine, WA, and the open ocean where the ship operated.

The discharge of oil and other bilge wastes are regulated by the CWA and APPS to protect the nation's waterways, port and ocean water quality. The discharge of oils and other pollutants in waters of the United States is prohibited absent a CWA permit. Open ocean discharges are also prohibited without using the oil-water separation (OWS) equipment specified in APPS.

The indictment says that Bingham Fox owned the Native Sun and, as part of its dockside maintenance, ordered crew members to discharge oil and other bilge wastes overboard into the harbor and adjoining shorelines of Blaine. Bingham Fox’s son, Randall Fox, served both as a crewmember and later a captain aboard the Native Sun and ordered crew members to discharge oil and bilge wastes overboard while the vessel was underway on fishing trips.

The Native Sun had neither a CWA permit to discharge wastes nor the OWS equipment on-board, as required by APPS.

The maximum penalty for each count of violating the Clean Water Act is three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Knowing violations of APPS are punishable by up to six years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The defendants will be summoned to appear in U.S. district court in Seattle on April 14, 2016.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Brandy Parker and Senior Trial Attorney Todd W. Gleason of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound and the Coast Guard Investigative Service Northwest Region.

The Department of Justice notes that an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, the Foxes must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Read the indictment HERE

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