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Friday, October 7, 2022


Hubert Fredericks and Varlack Ventures Inc. were fined by a federal judge Friday for Clean Water Act violations resulting from an oil spill which occurred in Red Hook in March 1995, the U.S. Attorney's Office has announced.
Fredericks was convicted in October 1998 for failing to notify the National Response Center of the oil spill, which occurred on one of the M/V Venture Pride's regular ferry runs to St. John.
On Friday, District Judge Thomas Moore sentenced Fredericks to four months' imprisonment, followed by four months' home detention and then three years' supervised release.
Fredericks must pay a $1,000 fine and perform 150 hours of community service by participating in marine and environmental education programs.
Varlack Ventures, which pleaded guilty to the charges in December 1998, was sentenced to five years' probation, according to a release from the Attorney General's office, during which time they must spend $60,000 a year upgrading his vessels in addition to regular maintenance.
Varlack Ventures was assessed a $50,000 fine and must pay the U.S. Coast Guard $1,445 in restitution. Varlack also had to submit an environmental compliance program and an employee environmental training program. Moore also ordered Varlack to implement the plan, file quarterly reports stating its progress and publish a full page apology in local newspapers.
"This case should be a message to those who pollute the marine environment of the Virgin Islands that their conduct will not be tolerated," U.S. Attorney James Hurd said in a released statement.
Fredericks' sentencing is the first time in the 35-year history of the Clean Water Act that a vessel's captain has been convicted and sent to prison for failing to notify authorities of the spill.
"The public is entitled to oceans that are free from illegal pollution. Those who illegally pollute our oceans will pay a price under the law," Hurd said.

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