Horizon Lines said its operating subsidiary will plead guilty to two counts of providing federal authorities with false vessel oil record-keeping entries on a container ship in the U.S. West Coast-Hawaii trade.
Under a plea agreement with the Justice Department, Horizon will pay a $1 million fine and donate $500,000 to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation for environmental community service programs. The company also has agreed to be placed on probation for three years and institute an environmental compliance plan.
The charges stem from the improper use of an oily-water separator and related inappropriate record keeping on the Horizon Enterprise, a U.S.-flag containership sailing between Tacoma, Oakland and Honolulu. Oily-water separators are used to remove oil from bilge or wastewater, so that the water can then be legally discharged into the ocean.
The company said that after discovering the violations it cooperated with authorities, conducted a fleet-wide audit and implemented a compliance and training program conducted by an outside contractor. The company has established the position of environmental compliance director reporting to Horizon’s chief compliance officer and board.
"Horizon Lines has always endeavored to operate as a responsible environmental steward," said Stephen Fraser, president and CEO. "We do not in any way minimize the unauthorized actions by a few individuals that run contrary to the care and training normally demonstrated by our vessel crews throughout the company. We are making every effort to see that this does not happen again, as we continue to provide service to our customers as an environmentally responsible American corporation."