Department of Justice says Virginia ship scrapping firm allowed oils to leak out of scrapped vessel.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Eastern Virginia office, has sentenced two executives of Virginia-based Sea Solutions Inc., in federal court in Norfolk, Va., for a number of environmental crimes stemming from its ship scrapping business.
Steven Avery was sentenced to one year in prison and fined $25,000. He also was sentenced to five years of probation. Bill Avery was sentenced to nine months of home confinement and fined $25,000. Their company, Sea Solutions Inc., was sentenced to one year of probation and is barred from engaging in the ship scrapping business. The three defendants also were collectively ordered to pay $66,000 in restitution. All three had entered guilty pleases to the charges April 13, 2012.
In a DOJ news release, David McLeod Jr., special agent in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency's criminal enforcement program in Virginia, says, “The defendants knowingly polluted the environment through their illegal discharges. Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to other potential violators that companies and their senior executives will be held responsible for their actions and intentional noncompliance with the law will be prosecuted.”
According to court documents, Steven and Bill Avery operated Sea Solutions Inc. In February 2010, Sea Solutions purchased a vessel known as M/V Snow Bird for the purpose of scrapping. According to court documents, knowing that the vessel contained petroleum products and other pollutants, the defendants began scrapping operations without first removing the pollutants.
During several months, witnesses complained of pollutants emanating from the vessel. In October 2010, the defendants caused a major spill of oil, oily water and other pollutants from the M/V Snow Bird into Virginia’s Elizabeth River. The cleanup operation cost more than $66,000.