Three sentenced in cruise-ship waste dumping

Posted: Friday, April 07, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Three Holland America cruise line employees were sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Anchorage for illegal waste dumping in Southeast Alaska waters.

Nanne Hogendoorn, Hantje deJong and Dirk Smeenk were each sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation and a $10,000 fine for violating the Clean Water Act. All three men are Dutch citizens.

Each of the workers pleaded guilty last December to discharging oily bilge water from the cruise ship Rotterdam during the summer of 1994.

The dumping occurred because a leak around the Rotterdam's rudder was not repaired, letting in more water than the vessel's oil-water separator could handle.

By law, bilge water cannot contain more than 15 parts per million of oil or cause a sheen on the water.

Hogendoorn is the line's technical director in Seattle, and was responsible for upkeep of the Rotterdam. The other two men were both engineers aboard the Rotterdam who supervised the actual dumping.

Prosecutors said the plea bargain let the men avoid the possibility of jail time and fines up to $100,000.

The Dutch corporation that operates Holland America pleaded guilty last year to two felonies: dumping oily water and failing to keep records of the discharge. It agreed to pay a $1 million fine and another $1 million in restitution.

The federal Prevention Pollution from Ships Act prohibits discharge of untreated bilge water within three miles of U.S. shores.

The investigation began in the summer of 1994 after John Vermeulen, an assistant engineer aboard the Rotterdam, refused an order to pump untreated bilge water overboard. Vermeulen reported the violation to the U.S. and Canadian coast guards.

Holland America sold the Rotterdam to Premier Cruise Lines in 1997.



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