Virginia Man and Company Indicted for False Statements to MARAD and Clean Water Act Violations
On October 13, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Jerry Askew and Marine Environmental Services, Inc. (MES), were indicted on multiple charges associated with the illegal discharge of approximately 500,000 gallons of contaminated ballast water into the Elizabeth River and the Hampton Roads Sanitation District sewer system, which are violations of the Clean Water Act and the Refuse Act. Mr. Askew is the general manager for MES, a tank cleaning company located in Portsmouth, Virginia. MES was the subcontractor hired by Bay Bridge Enterprises to remove fluids from the USS Pawcatuck as part of a ship scrapping contract with the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD). MARAD's contract required compliance with all Federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations.
The indictment also charged Mr. Askew and MES with making material false statements by way of omission with respect to these illegal discharges in reports that were submitted to MARAD. Additionally, the indictment charged Askew with making false statements to the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Defense, and the Coast Guard, when he advised them that he had authority from the Coast Guard to discharge ballast water from the USS Pawcatuck into the Elizabeth River, when the Coast Guard had not advised him or given him such permission.
NOTE: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.