U.S. Attorney Scott Schools announced that $800,000 has now been collected for environmental restoration projects in the San Francisco Bay as a result of three shipping pollution prosecutions. Yesterday, Twighlight Marine, Ltd., pleaded guilty to grossly negligent operation of a vessel and was sentenced to pay a $50,000 criminal fine, $100,000 in restitution to be added to the restoration fund, and ordered to comply with an Environmental Compliance Plan.
Twighlight Marine is a Maltese corporation and owner of the motor vessel Warrior, a 38,880-ton ocean-going bulk cargo ship, registered in Malta. Twighlight Marine admitted that its Master and other shipboard employees operated the vessel in a grossly negligent manner that endangered the life, limb, and property of a person.
In pleading guilty, Twighlight Marine admitted that in September 2006, the M/V Warrior crossed the Atlantic Ocean, traveling toward North America. During this crossing, several sailors onboard the M/V Warrior identified several small cracks and rust holes in the starboard side deck of the M/V Warrior. The crew immediately welded these cracks and holes. Soon after, several sailors identified two large cracks, each approximately three feet in length, on the port side deck of the vessel. Instead of directing that the cracks be welded, the vessel’s Master ordered these cracks to be covered with tape and painted over to blend in with the painting on the deck. Twighlight Marine admitted that it knew its vessel was in a hazardous condition during the Atlantic crossing in that these two cracks were not properly repaired.
In November 2006, the M/V Warrior arrived in the San Francisco Bay. On November 22, 2006, the Coast Guard boarded the vessel to conduct an inspection. During this inspection, the Coast Guard discovered the two large cracks on the Port side of the deck which Twighlight Marine failed to disclose.