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Fed trial of Sanford Ltd opens in D.C.

fili@samoanews.com

New Zealand based Sanford Limited has requested U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell to allow the defense to present during the trial factual testimony from Dominic Harvey, a New Zealand maritime surveyor, who acts under the authority of Maritime New Zealand, a New Zealand governmental authority.

The defense says Harvey’s testimony supports the defendants’ argument that they did not knowingly omit required entries from the Oil Record Book (ORB) or, maintain an inaccurate ORB aboard the fishing  San Nikunau while the vessel was on the high seas.

According to the defense request, Harvey surveyed the San Nikunau and endorsed its International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) Certificate in July 2008 and in April 2010 while the vessel was docked in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

In addition, Harvey surveyed the San Nikunau for the renewal of its IOPP Certificate in May 2011 while the vessel was docked in Australia. Harvey has also surveyed the San Nikunau for the issuance of a Safe Ship Management Certificate multiple times.

The defense said such surveys included the inspection of the San Nikunau’s bilge system, pollution protection equipment, and the vessel’s ORB. The reports include extensive narratives regarding the condition of the vessel and compliance with applicable requirements, as well as a plethora of photographs evidencing the equipment and piping arrangements.

They also indicate Harvey’s determination that the vessel’s overboard piping arrangements, as built and maintained, and its ORB complied with New Zealand law and regulations.

The court has yet to rule on the defense request to allow Harvey’s factual testimony.

A 12 member jury and two alternates were selected Monday at the federal court in Washington D.C. for the federal government’s case against Sanford. First day of opening statements and witnesses began Tuesday.

The first government witness called to the stand was the U.S. Coast Guard’s top official based in Honolul,u which has jurisdiction over the Port of Pago Pago.

Sanford is charged under a seven-count indictment with violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture from Sanford of more than $24 million for proceeds derived by Sanford as a result of the criminal conduct.



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