July 22, 2004
The sign on the ship reads 'Rescue the Alaskan Rainforests"
Photo by Chris Wilhelm -
According to the information, Greenpeace's ship agent, Mr. Beekman, agreed the vessel would remain on anchor in Ketchikan pending compliance with state law; however, on the morning of July 14th the vessel left port while still in violation.
Following the Kuroshima oil spill in Dutch Harbor, Alaska's Legislature passed a law requiring nontank vessels over 400 gross tons demonstrate they have resources available and committed to respond to a spill.
"There is no such thing as a paperwork violation," DEC Commissioner Ernesta Ballard said. "Compliance is not a mere technicality. We require evidence of spill response capability because we know that any ship can hit a rock at any time. The vessel relocated from a safe anchorage to navigate remote, high risk, narrow Southeast waters in traditional subsistence use and environmentally sensitive areas during peak salmon runs; without care or consideration for the catastrophic impacts that would occur from failure to have the necessary resources to initiate a response."
DEC referred the results of the investigation to the Department of Law for prosecution. Each charge is a class A misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $10,000 fine for individuals, and a maximum penalty of $200,000 for organizations.
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