31 Jul 2012

NZ fishing firm faces charges in US court

10:56 am on 31 July 2012

The criminal trial of fishing company Sanford is beginning in a federal court in Washington DC.

Sanford says it will vigorously defend the seven charges against the company and its vessel San Nikunauwhich include oil pollution, conspiracy and obstruction during the investigation.

The case stems from a US Coast Guard investigation involving the San Nikunau in American Samoa.

The charges relate to allegations that in July 2011 the company illegally dumped oily bilge waste at sea.

Sanford's managing director Eric Barratt will give testimony in the case brought by the US Attorney's Office and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice.

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

The trail was beginning on Monday and is estimated to run two weeks.