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

People & Company News

Tauber Oil Opens West Calcasieu Port Operations

Tauber Oil Company of Houston has become the West Calcasieu Port’s newest tenant.    “Tauber Oil is a service-oriented wholesale energy marketing company with

NewLead Expands Fleet to 10 Vessels

NewLead Holdings Ltd. announced that it recently added five bitumen tanker vessels, expanding its fleet to 10 vessels in less than a year while performing on its

SKF Expands Electric Motor Repair Network

Electric motors are among the highest in reliability incident reports, said SKF Canada, noting that for many companies, electric motor failures lead to a continual

Cruise Ship Trends

GE Powers Diadema Cruise Ship

Fincantieri shipyard to equip in-board propulsion for Carnival and Costa vessels, GE’s Power Conversion business has helped the shipyard successfully deliver the

Carnival, China Merchants Sign MOU

MOU will explore both Port & Destination Development and Ship-Owning joint ventures with the goal of potentially launching China’s first world-class domestic cruise brand.

ms Veendam Rescues Pilot Off Maui Coast, Hawaii

On Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015, at 5:21 p.m. local time while en route to Lahaina, Hawaii, Holland America Line’s ms Veendam answered a request for assistance from

News

Libya Returns Fuel Tanker to Rival Government

Libya's recognized government has released a tanker forced to dock at a port under its control after originally banning it from delivering fuel to its rival administration,

Tauber Oil Opens West Calcasieu Port Operations

Tauber Oil Company of Houston has become the West Calcasieu Port’s newest tenant.    “Tauber Oil is a service-oriented wholesale energy marketing company with

US Proposes Allowing Oil, Gas Drilling off Atlantic Coast

The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed allowing for the first time oil and gas exploration in a wide swath of U.S. waters off the Atlantic Coast.   The

Government Update

Libya Returns Fuel Tanker to Rival Government

Libya's recognized government has released a tanker forced to dock at a port under its control after originally banning it from delivering fuel to its rival administration,

US Proposes Allowing Oil, Gas Drilling off Atlantic Coast

The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed allowing for the first time oil and gas exploration in a wide swath of U.S. waters off the Atlantic Coast.   The

NOIA: Draft Offshore Lease Program Both Hits and Misses

National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Randall Luthi issued a statement on the 2017-2022 Draft Proposed OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program, stating the U.

Logistics

CakeBoxx, Globe Tracker Partner for Asset Tracking

Globe Tracker International, a company in global autonomous asset tracking, monitoring, remote management and data sharing services, and CakeBoxx Technologies,

Northeast Winter Storm Disrupts Shipping

Winter Storm Juno, which has brought snow and gale force winds to the North East Coast of the United States, is causing severe disruption to shipping across the entire coastline.

Carnival, China Merchants Sign MOU

MOU will explore both Port & Destination Development and Ship-Owning joint ventures with the goal of potentially launching China’s first world-class domestic cruise brand.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | 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: 0.2816 sec (4 req/sec)