Two Ocean Shipping Companies to Pay $3.4M

MarineLink.com
Monday, March 10, 2014

Sea Star Line LLC and Horizon Lines LLC have agreed to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by fixing the price of government cargo transportation contracts between the continental United States and Puerto Rico, the Department of Justice announced today. Under the settlement agreements, Sea Star Line has agreed to pay $1.9 million, and Horizon Lines has agreed to pay $1.5 million.  

“Today’s civil settlements demonstrate our continuing vigilance to ensure that those doing business with the government do not engage in anticompetitive conduct,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery.   “Government contractors who seek to profit at the expense of taxpayers will face serious consequences.”

The government alleged that former executives of the defendant ocean shippers used personal email accounts to communicate confidential bidding information, thereby enabling each of the shippers to know the transportation rates that its competitor intended to submit to federal agencies for specific routes.   This information allowed the shippers to allocate specific routes between themselves at predetermined rates.  Among the contracts affected were U.S. Postal Service contracts to transport mail and Department of Agriculture contracts to ship food.   Both Sea Star Line and Horizon Lines previously pleaded guilty, in related criminal proceedings, to anticompetitive conduct in violation of the Sherman Act.

“Postal Service contractors must understand and know that actions that undermine the contracting process, such as conspiring to suppress and eliminate competition, will not be tolerated and will be aggressively investigated,” said Tom Frost, Special Agent in Charge of the Major Fraud Investigations Division (MFID) with the Postal Service Office of Inspector General.  “MFID will continue to work with DOJ, both criminally and civilly, to bring those individuals and companies to justice.”

The civil settlements resolve allegations in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Jacksonville, Fla., by former Sea Star Line executive William B. Stallings.   The lawsuit was filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery.   The Act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action, as it did in this case.   Stallings will receive $512,719 of the recovered funds.

The settlements were the result of a coordinated effort by the Civil Division of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.      

The case is captioned United States ex rel. Stallings v. Sea Star Line LLC, et al., Case No. 3:13-cv-152-J-12JBT (M.D. Fla.). The claims resolved by the settlements are allegations only, except to the extent the conduct was admitted as part of the defendants’ prior guilty pleas, and there has been no determination of liability.

Maritime Reporter August 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

That’s Not Coming on Board!

There’s hardly anything that can’t be shipped in a container. However, for ethical reasons, Hapag-Lloyd refuses to transport certain goods.   Anyone who regularly transports goods for third parties,

US Navy Awards $22mln Waterfront Inspection Deal

The U.S. Navy has awarded a five-year, $22 million contract to Appledore Marine Engineering, a specialist focusing exclusively on the inspection and design of marine infrastructure,

Offshore Operators Can Simplify Safety Equipment Logistics

Safety equipment manufacturer VIKING Life-Saving Equipment said its Offshore Safety Agreements are providing relief for offshore operators seeking to ensure compliance

Contracts

US Navy Awards $22mln Waterfront Inspection Deal

The U.S. Navy has awarded a five-year, $22 million contract to Appledore Marine Engineering, a specialist focusing exclusively on the inspection and design of marine infrastructure,

Keppel Delivers Jackup to UMW-OG

Keppel FELS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) has delivered UMW Naga 8, a KFELS B Class jackup rig, to Malaysia’s UMW Oil & Gas Corporation Berhad (UMW-OG).

Rolls-Royce to Design, Equip Canadian Stern Trawler

The shipbuilding company VARD Group AS in Norway has received an order from a Canadian company for a shrimp stern trawler to be designed and equipped by Rolls-Royce,

Legal

Oakland Terminal Operators Propose Off-peak Hours

Marine container terminal operators at the Port of Oakland are developing a program to operate their terminal gates on Saturdays to reduce weekday congestion at the port.

Greek Coast Guard Seizes Weapons Ship Bound for Libya

Greek authorities have seized a freighter carrying an undeclared shipment of weapons en route from Turkey to Libya, coast guard officials said on Wednesday. A

Cosco CSCL Merger Talks Continue

The closed-door talks on what is believed to be merger discussions between Cosco and China Shipping continue, reports local media.   According to JoC, the Chinese

News

Five Chinese Ships in Bering Sea as Obama Visits Alaska

Five Chinese Navy ships are sailing in international waters in the Bering Sea off Alaska, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, in an apparent first for China's military that came as U.

White House: No Threat from China Navy Ships in Bering Sea

The Pentagon has not detected any threatening activity from the Chinese navy vessels in the Bering Sea, the White House said on Wednesday.   "Based on their analysis

Recent Vessel Sales - August 2015

Vessel sales for August 2015 (as of September 1) as prepared by Shipping Intelligence, Inc., New York.   Date Reported - Vessel Name - DWT - Built - (Age)

Government Update

Five Chinese Ships in Bering Sea as Obama Visits Alaska

Five Chinese Navy ships are sailing in international waters in the Bering Sea off Alaska, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, in an apparent first for China's military that came as U.

White House: No Threat from China Navy Ships in Bering Sea

The Pentagon has not detected any threatening activity from the Chinese navy vessels in the Bering Sea, the White House said on Wednesday.   "Based on their analysis

Oakland Terminal Operators Propose Off-peak Hours

Marine container terminal operators at the Port of Oakland are developing a program to operate their terminal gates on Saturdays to reduce weekday congestion at the port.

Logistics

Oakland Terminal Operators Propose Off-peak Hours

Marine container terminal operators at the Port of Oakland are developing a program to operate their terminal gates on Saturdays to reduce weekday congestion at the port.

That’s Not Coming on Board!

There’s hardly anything that can’t be shipped in a container. However, for ethical reasons, Hapag-Lloyd refuses to transport certain goods.   Anyone who regularly transports goods for third parties,

Egypt Picks Jordan LNG Cargo Winners

Egypt has picked Shell, Vitol and Trafigura in a tender to supply four cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via Jordan's Aqaba import terminal, trade sources said.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.7500 sec (1 req/sec)