15 Dec 2011

U.S. seeking 24 million US dollars from New Zealand fishing company

2:39 pm on 15 December 2011

It's been revealed that the United States Justice Department is seeking more than 24 million US dollars from the New Zealand fishing company Sanford.

Last week a federal grand jury in Washington handed down a seven count indictment against Sanford for alleged pollution violations, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

The charges relate to the trawler San Nikunau which has been impounded in American Samoa since July.

US officials claim that the company had been discharging oil waste in American Samoa waters since at least 2007.

They are seeking, among other things, the criminal forfeiture of the company's earnings derived from the alleged criminal conduct, which they calculate at more than 24 million dollars.

Sanford has rejected the charges and has expressed hope that the vessel will shortly be released.