Guilty plea in fishing vessel pollution case

MARCH 20, 2017 — Randall Fox, a captain of the fishing vessel Native Sun, and son of its owner, Bingham Fox, pleaded guilty March 16 in federal court in Seattle, Washington, for discharging oily-waste directly into the ocean in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) and the federal conspiracy statute.

Randall Fox pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Lasnik of the Western District of Washington to two criminal felony counts for violating APPS' prohibition against discharging oily-wastes, namely machinery-space bilge water, directly into the ocean.

The plea follows the April 2016 indictment of both Bingham and Randall Fox (see earlier story). Bingham Fox pled "not guilty" to the conspiracy and CWA charges in April 2016 and has maintained his innocence since that time. His trial is currently set to begin March 21.

According to court documents, Randall Fox, and other co-conspirators, repeatedly discharged the oil-contaminated bilge water into the ocean using unapproved submersible pumps and hoses. On at least one occasion, such a discharge left a sizable oily-sheen along the surface of the water that trailed alongside the F/V Native Sun.

Randall Fox faces a maximum of six years in prison for the APPS count and five years in prison for the conspiracy count. He also faces a criminal fine of up to $250,000 for each count.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 16, 2017.

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