Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminals Incorporated (KMBT) was sentenced for a felony violation of federal ocean protection laws. The court sentenced KMBT to pay a total penalty of $240,000. Of this amount, a total of $84,000 will fund various environmental projects in administered by the congressionally established National Fish and Wildlife Fund through the Oregon Governor's Fund for the Environment.
KMBT, which is headquartered in Louisiana and runs a bulk terminal vessel loading facility in Portland, Ore., admitted to violating the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, more commonly known as the Ocean Dumping Act, which makes it a crime to knowingly transport or cause to be transported, without a permit, certain materials from the United States for the purpose of dumping the materials into ocean waters.
The case arose from an investigation into KMBT's operation of a terminal in . KMBT receives, stores and loads potash or potassium chloride, a substance used as a salt substitute or fertilizer, on behalf of a Canadian corporation at Terminal 5. The shipments of potash arrive in railcars where KMBT then loads it onto bulk cargo vessels for shipment overseas, oftentimes to .
In August 2003, KMBT received 160 metric tons of potash that inspectors determined had come into contact with water, rendering it unsaleable. KMBT's night superintendent paid the master of the vessel taking on the load $1250 to load the wet, off-specification potash on the vessel’s deck for later disposal into the ocean. In August 2007, the government located the master of the vessel, the J/A Aladdin Dream II, in . The retired master had logbooks and was able to tell the Interpol investigator exactly where the crew dumped the potash into the ocean.