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VARLACK PLEADS GUILTY TO POLLUTING OCEAN

Varlack Ventures of St. John has pleaded guilty to negligently discharging oil into Red Hook Harbor, St. Thomas, in March 1995 and failing to notify federal authorities.
Varlack will pay a fine of $50,000 and be on probation for five years, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney James A. Hurd Jr.
As a condition of its probation, Varlack must spend $300,000 above and beyond normal maintenance costs to upgrade and maintain its boats.
Varlack also must institute an environmental training program for its officers and employees, modernize its oil handling and waste-oil disposal systems, and publish a full-page apology to the community in local papers, Hurd's release said.
The violations happened March 26, 1995, during the M/V Venture Pride's regular ferry run.
Hurd's release did not say when Varlack entered its guilty plea before District Court Judge Thomas K. Moore.
Agencies that investigated and prosecuted the Varlack case included the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Justice Department's Environmental Progection Agency Criminal Investigation Division, and the V.I. Planning and Natural Resources marine pollution enforcement operation.
"This guilty plea should be a message to those who pollute the marine environment of the Virgin Islands that their conduct will not be tolerated," Hurd said.
Hubert Fredericks, the ferry boat captain on the Venture Pride the day the violations occurred, was found guilty Oct. 16 by a District Court jury of failing to notify the National Response Center about the oil discharge. His sentencing date has not been set.

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