Bouchard Agrees to $10M Oil Spill Fine

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts said that Bouchard Transportation Company has agreed to plead guilty to violation of federal law relating to a 2003 oil spill in Buzzards Bay and to pay a criminal fine in the amount of $10 million. The company will also be placed on probation for three years and will undertake a number of remedial measures to reduce the risk of future oil spills. The company will institute a maritime compliance program and will disclose to the government the results of its internal investigation. The government alleges that the company negligently violated the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) because its employee, the mate on watch on the tug, operated the tug in a negligent manner and because the company had allowed the mate to remain at the helm despite repeated concerns raised about his competency. The government also alleges that the company violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) by killing protected birds as a result of the oil spill. It should be noted that the MBTA is a strict liability criminal statute. (HK Law)

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