Man Charged in Vessel Scuttling

Friday, June 16, 2006
A Gloucester man was charged today in federal court with one count of violating the Refuse Act for towing his charter boat off the coast of Gloucester and sinking it in a commercial fishing area. United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Michael E. Hubbard, Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Enforcement Division in New England; and William Schenkelberg, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, announced that Thomas W. Lukegord jr., was charged in an Information with one count of violating the Refuse Act. The Information alleges that Lukegord, the owner of a charter boat service in Gloucester, towed a sixty-two foot charter boat named the Nicole Renee to sea and sank it off the coast of Gloucester in approximately one hundred feet of water. After removing fuel and other hazardous materials from the vessel, Lukegord pumped water into it using a bilge pump until it sank stern first. Lukegord had looked into disposing of the vessel properly, but chose not to incur the expense. The vessel sank in an area that is fished by commercial fishermen, thereby creating a navigational hazard.

Lukgord has agreed to plead guilty in this matter. According to the plea agreement, Lukegord would be required to pay a fine, compensate the U.S. Coast Guard for the expense of responding to the sinking, and issue a public apology in regional periodicals. The plea agreement is subject to approval by the Court.

The case was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan F. Mitchell in Sullivan's Economic Crimes Unit and EPA Senior Criminal Enforcement Attorney Peter Kenyon.

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