Oil Spilling Bad Guys Charged With Polluting The Ocean (Nope, Not BP, Sadly)

Categories: Crime
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One leaky oil boat down! One gushing, horribly out of control well to go.
They wantonly spilled oil into the ocean, lied to federal regulators and bent the rules, prosecutors say. Now they're looking at serious prison time for their crimes against the environment.

Yay! Justice at last for the BP spill!

Wait, we're not talking about Tony Hayward or any other BP execs? They're all still free and happily betting millions in dividends on yacht races?

Sigh. Mother Earth is surely offering a polite golf clap at today's federal charges filed against a Miami man, two of his cohorts and two local corporations, whom prosecutors say rigged their 155-foot cargo freighter to spew "oil contaminated water" into the sea.

One leaky freighter has been contained. Now if we could just do something about that blasted rig billowing 50,000 barrels a day into the ocean ...

The feds charged Hugo Pena, a 45-year-old from Miami, with several criminal counts alleging that his business, Coastal Maritime Shipping, deliberately lied to regulators and kept false records about a freighter called the Island Express I.

Pena and his colleagues -- a 45-year-old Honduran named Ronald Ramon and Northon Eraso, a 66-year-old from Colombia -- knew the Island Express had been rigged to spew oil into the ocean as it sailed, according to the indictment.

Pena, according to prosecutors, inspected the boat and knew that it's pollution controls weren't adequate, but certified it to sail anyway.

If he's convicted, Pena faces up to six years in prison on each of several counts and a $500,000 fine.

So if Pena faces that kind of sentence for operating one leaky boat, what kind of punishment should Hayward and company earn? By our rough calculations, approximately 3,299 years in federal prison and a fine equal to Switzerland's annual GDP.

But why do we have a sinking feeling that day might never come?
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