Friday, July 17, 2009

Trident to pay $34,000 for diesel spills

Here's some news out of Washington state on a settlement Trident Seafoods Corp. has stuck with pollution regulators regarding fuel spills from some of the Seattle-based processor's vessels.

Department of Ecology
State of Washington

July 16, 2009

Ecology settlement with Trident Seafoods aims to prevent oil spills

OLYMPIA — Under a settlement agreement between Trident Seafoods Corp. of Seattle and the Washington Department of Ecology, Trident will pay $34,000 to settle a total of $68,000 in penalties Ecology levied against the company for four vessel spills of diesel fuel to state waters in 2007 and 2008.

Ecology agreed to suspend the remaining $34,000 in recognition of significant improvements in Trident’s environmental compliance program. Trident also must avoid any oil spills 25 gallons or larger during the next three years.

Under the agreement, if the company has an incident Trident will pay Ecology the remaining half of the full penalty amount — on top of any new fines that might be imposed for another spill.

“I’m pleased with this approach. Trident could have just paid the fine and made a verbal pledge to do better,” said Ecology Spills Program Manager Dale Jensen. “Instead, the company is taking on a financial challenge to implement changes to better protect Puget Sound. This is a model other companies who get penalties for spilling oil ought to consider.”

Trident will make its settlement payment within 30 days.

Jensen said Trident has embarked on a series of safety and spill-prevention reforms within its 42-vessel fleet, prompted by Ecology, the U.S. Coast Guard and the company’s own initiatives. The changes made include:

•Placing oil barrier boom around all vessels moored in Washington.

•Conducting weekly checks of vessel fuel and hydraulic systems and making annual reviews of company oil-transfer procedures.

•Putting permanent containment on as many fuel tank vents as possible.

•Minimizing the length of hydraulic hoses exposed to weather on the decks of its vessels.

“Trident regrets any spill, and we are committed to safety and spill-prevention reforms,” said company spokesperson Bob Nelson. “We are pleased that we were able to reach this innovative settlement agreement with Ecology which aims to prevent future spills.”

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