[Coral-List] Company pay fine in Marshall Islands for Coral Damage from Vessel Grounding

Andrew Finlay finlayrao at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Mar 3 13:53:48 EST 2009

Dear Listers
After a two year battle, the Republic of the Marshall Island's Environmental Protection Authority (RMIEPA) has won its High Court Case in the Marshall Islands, with Pacific International Inc (PII) being convicted on three counts: coral damage, fishery habitat destruction and marine pollution. This was for the grounding of their vessel the MV Emerald on the lagoon coral reefs of Enemanet Island, Majuro Atoll in early 2007.
Last week, the Judge fined PII US$25,000, with $22,000 suspended provided that PII do not violate the environmental laws within the next five years. 
Would like to thank John Starmer, in CNMI and Tom Moore of NOAA for invaluable information on coral reef restoration economics and also Christopher Hale for legal information.
The trial did not pass without casualties. During the trial, the Government's prosecuting attorney, the former Attorney General, was forced to resign in early 2008 when the CEO of Pacific International Inc', son became his boss, the Minister of Justice. My contract as the EPA Advisor was then terminated later in 2008 without reason after testifying as the expert witness, when a new EPA Board was illegally appointed and chaired by a senior PII employee. Later the President overturned the corrupt Board and rescinded all its decisions including the termination.
It certainly make an interesting case study, but more to the point sets a great precedent for the future enforcement of environmental laws and protection of coral reefs in the Marshall Islands.
Article from the Marshall Islands Journal below (if you want a jpeg or pdf of the article please feel free to email me)
Kind regards 
Andrew Finlay
Former RMIEPA Advisor
PII pays $3,000 fine in 
Enemanet pollution case
End to ongoing EPA issue
After a lengthy trial and hearing process, the High 
Court sentenced Pacific International Inc. Thursday to 
pay $3,000 while suspending the balance of a $25,000 
fine for a 2007 pollution incident at Enemanet Island on 
Majuro’s north shore. 
Chief Justice Carl Ingram found PII guilty of three counts 
of marine pollution last August following a trial, but followed 
up with additional hearings in December to gather 
more evidence concerning coral damage and mitigation 
and clean up efforts. Ingram pointed out that the marine 
protection laws do not require that the pollution was 
caused intentionally or by negligence. “It is enough that 
the discharge, contamination and pollution occurred,” he 
said in Thursday’s sentencing decision. 
In delivering the sentence, Ingram said he took into 
consideration all the evidence, efforts by PII to clean 
and restore the lagoon area by Enemanet, the lack of 
evidence that PII intentionally caused the problem, and 
the laws that allowed for a maximum fine of $500,000 
for the incident. 
He ordered PII to pay $25,000 and reimburse the RMI 
government for the $695 cost for engaging diver Matt Holly 
to produce a report on the underwater area at Enemanet. 
But Ingram suspended $22,000 provided that PII paid 
$3,000 fine and $695 reimbursement by March 1 and 
does not intentionally or through gross negligence violate 
marine pollution laws for the next five years. 
PII paid the fine on Tuesday this week.

R. Andrew O. Finlay
United Kingdom Mob: +44 7982194897
Australia Mob: +61 420421292
Skype: fin_international


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