HONOLULU - A Honolulu-based commercial fishing company is accused of violating the Clean Water Act by allegedly dumping oil into the ocean offshore of Hawai'i, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Coast Guard announced Friday  

The complaint alleges Azure Fishery LLC, company managers, Hanh Nguyen and Khang Dang, previous owner Tuan Hoang, vessel operator Andy Hoang and current owner Linh Fishery LLC, knowingly discharged oil and oily bilge water from the commercial longline fishing vessel Jaxton T, now known as the St. Joseph. In order to extend long fishing voyages, the defendants pumped a mixture of fuel, lubricating oils and water from the vessel's engine room into the ocean, according to the complaint. The alleged violations were discovered by the Coast Guard in March 2017.

“This is the fourth case we have brought this year involving illegal oil discharge practices in the Honolulu-based longline fishing fleet,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, Commander, Coast Guard 14th District. “All vessel owners and operators are responsible for maintaining their vessels and preventing illegal discharges of oily wastes into the ocean. We are committed to the people of Hawaii to protect our waters and the Pacific Ocean from the damage caused by illegal pollution.”

The complaint also says that once the Coast Guard discovered the alleged violations, Nguyen and Dang fraudulently transferred the vessel to its current owner, Linh Fishery, LLC. Nguyen and Dang have come to a partial settlement, and have agreed to pay $475,000 in civil penalties and reimbursements, and will perform "operational improvements" to their fleet of 25 longline fishing vessels. Each will pay $211,000 for the Clean Water Act complaints and will jointly pay $53,000 for the fraudulent transfer claim.