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Seaboard Marine sentenced for criminal violations

U.S. Department of Justice United States Attorney Southern District of Florida 99 N.E. 4 Street Miami, FL 33132 (305) 961-9000 May 5, 2005 NEWS RELEASE: SEABOARD MARINE SENTENCED FOR CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Barbara L. Barnet, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General; and Tom Tramel, Director, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Law Enforcement, announced today that on May 4, 2005, defendant, Seaboard Marine Ltd., Inc., a worldwide transportation company, located at 8050 N.W. 79th Avenue in Medley, Florida, and at the Port of Miami, was sentenced for transporting hazardous materials over public highways in violation of numerous Department of Transportation Regulations, a violation of Title 49, United States Code, Section 5124. United States District Court Judge Alan S. Gold sentenced the Maimi-based corporation to three (3) years of probation, during which time they must comply with a court ordered Hazardous Material Compliance Plan. In addition to the term of probation, Judge Gold also ordered Seaboard Marine to pay a $200,000 fine and to make full restitution to the state agencies which expended over $55,000 in clean-up costs. Judge Gold also imposed two (2) community service payments totaling $50,000 to the Miami-Dade Police Department units involved in hazardous materials investigations and emergency response. Seaboard Marine was also required to develop, implement, and enforce a Hazardous Materials Compliance Plan, which was developed by an outside consultant to ensure the company's compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal hazardous materials laws and regulations. The Plan was developed with oversight from the government, including the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Division of the Department of Transportation. The Plan was presented to the Court at the time of sentencing. The Information, which was filed by the government on July 7, 2004, charged Seaboard Marine Ltd. Inc., with knowingly and willfully transporting various hazardous materials from January 22, 2002 through February 11, 2002, in intrastate commerce by a commercial motor vehicle. The hazardous materials were primarily solvents and cleaning substances, including phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, isopropanol, potassium hydroxide, and sodium hydroxide. According to the statements made previously in Court as well as filed documents, an individual shipper purchased the contents of a warehouse in Hialeah for $1200 in January, 2002, and contracted to sell the contents, which consisted of solvents, chemicals, and cleaning materials, to a detergent company in Antigua. The individual leased a 40-foot shipping container from Seaboard Marine Ltd., Inc. and hired Seaboard to transport the warehouse contents to Antigua. After Seaboard Marine delivered the container to the Hialeah warehouse, it was loaded by the individual shipper. The container was then picked up and transported by Seaboard Marine to its facility at the Port of Miami to be shipped by vessel to Antigua. When Seaboard Marine contacted the individual shipper to request the required list of the container's contents, the shipper faxed Seaboard Marine a list of materials that Seaboard recognized as hazardous. Seaboard Marine advised the shipper that it needed a Dangerous Goods Declaration before it could ship the contents. The shipper told Seaboard to take the container to Larparkan Trading, Inc. in Miami to inventory the contents and prepare the Dangerous Goods Declaration. Before transporting the container, Seaboard Marine's driver saw that the container was leaking. Seaboard had failed to enter the existence of the hazardous materials cargo on its forms and the driver had no warning that he was carrying hazardous materials. Seaboard then instructed its driver to move the container to Laparkan. DOT regulations require that upon discovery of a leak of potentially hazardous materials, a company cannot move the leaking container and must immediately contact the Florida Department of Environmental Protection or Bureau of Emergency Response. Laparkan was closed, so the driver transported the container back to the Port of Miami. The next day another Seaboard driver saw the leaking from the container, but was told to take it to Laparkan Trading. Upon arrival at Laparkan, employees saw and smelled the leaking substances from the container, and believed that some of the contents were hazardous. They opened the container, observed hazardous markings on some of the drums and packages, and observed that the contents were in complete disarray. Laparkan refused the container and contacted Seaboard Marine to pick it up. The next day another Seaboard driver was sent to Larparkan with instructions to take it back to the original warehouse in Hialeah. This driver was very concerned about the leaking but was advised by Seaboard's Dispatch office not to worry because there were no hazardous materials in the container. Since no one was present at the closed warehouse to accept the container, Seaboard directed its driver to take the container to its facility in Medley. The container of leaking hazardous materials was last in the possession of Seaboard Marine. Three days later the container was found abandoned and leaking outside the original warehouse in Hialeah. These incidents took place from January 22, 2002 through February 11,2002. Clean-up and disposal of the hazardous chemicals took four days and cost a total of $55,000. Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the United States Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General, the Florida Department of Environment Protection- Division of Law Enforcement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-Department of Transportation, Miami-Dade Police Department, Hazardous Materials Crime Unit/ Intergovernmental Unit, and the Hialeah Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diane Patrick. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on https://ecf.flsd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/ShowIndex.pl