30 Jul 2012

NZ fishing company faces pollution charges in US court

10:08 pm on 30 July 2012

A New Zealand fishing company says it will vigorously defend itself against charges relating to polluting American Samoa's waters.

A United States federal grand jury has lodged seven charges against Sanford Limited and its vessel, San Nikunau, under US anti-pollution laws.

Sanford is accused of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, as well as conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to allegations in July 2011, that it illegally dumped oily bilge waste at sea.

The company denies all of the charges.

Managing director Eric Barratt says his company has done nothing wrong, and he is ready to defend the claims.

If found guilty, Sanford faces potential fines and the confiscation of tens of millions of dollars.

The trial is to get underway at the Federal Court in Washington on Monday morning and is expected to last for two weeks.