A federal grand jury in Anchorage indicted a corporate director, two corporate managers, a ship's captain and a first engineer for their roles in an ocean pollution conspiracy involving the direct discharges of oil from a fleet of large, refrigerated cargo ships that regularly travel through Alaska waters
, the Justice Department announced. The indictment charges the individuals of conspiracy to lie to the U.S. Coast Guard
in order to conceal the dumping of waste oil from the ships and to obstruct the investigation of the agency and the grand jury. The charges against In Seok Yang, a member of the Board of Directors of Boyang Maritime Kyeong Shin Deep Sea Fisheries Company of Pusan, Korea, are the first such charges to ever have been filed in the United States against a corporate board member for his role in a conspiracy involving vessel pollution. The indictment also charges Gum Hyang Kwon and Young Min Han, two senior shore-side managers at Boyang in Korea, who are likewise among the first on-shore mangers to be charged for their alleged roles in oil discharges that occurred at sea.
"Our oceans are not dumping grounds, yet illegal pollution from ships remains widespread throughout the maritime industry," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "We are vigorously prosecuting these crimes to deter other polluters and to ensure that the industry fulfills its responsibility to legally dispose of waste when ships come into port."