An Idaho man has been charged in connection with what federal prosecutors said was a massive dumping of oil waste into U.S. waters outside American Samoa. Federal authorities also said James Pogue, a chief engineer on a shipping vessel, falsiifed records.
A federal jury convicted Pogue and Sanford Ltd., owner of a New Zealand fishing company, of dumping oil waste off its fishing vessel. Prosecutors said the oil waste, known as bilge waste, could be contaminated with oil and lubrication fluids from the ship's engines and pipes.
Pogue remains free until his Nov. 16 sentencing. Prosecutors said he likely faces 14 to 20 months in prison under sentencing guidelines.
"These verdicts hold a company and one of its chief engineers accountable for polluting the waters off American Samoa with oily waste, and then trying to cover up their acts," U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said in a statement. "The prosecution demonstrates our commitment to enforcing environmental laws and protecting our precious natural resources."