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(202) 514-2008


TDD (202) 514-1888



WASHINGTON -- A federal judge today sentenced three Dutch nationals for their role in discharging pollution into the Alaskan Inland Passage from a Holland America cruise ship.

U.S. District Judge James Singleton in Anchorage sentenced Nanne Hogendoorn, Hantje deJong and Dirk Smeenk for violations of the Clean Water Act. Each was sentenced to two years unsupervised probation and a fine of $10,000.

Hogendoorn, Holland America's director of technical operations in Seattle, is the first shore-based cruise line employee ever sentenced for a criminal violation of the Clean Water Act. DeJong and Smeenk were second engineers aboard the ss Rotterdam, a Holland America ship that sailed in the Alaskan Inland Passage during the summer of 1994. Each of the defendants plead guilty on December 9, 1999, to one count of negligently violating the Clean Water Act by discharging bilge water containing a harmful quantity of oil into waters of the United States.

Smeenk and deJong were responsible for discharging oily bilge water directly overboard, without treating it first by pumping it through an oil water separator on the ss Rotterdam. At the time, the vessel's oil water separator often did not work. Although Hogendoorn was aware of the problems, he did not order repairs to the system. His criminal liability is based on his failure to correct the problem, which he knew would result in illegal consequences.

"The Alaskan coastal waters are some of our country's most important natural resources," said Lois J. Schiffer Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. "It is inexcusable that Holland America would benefit economically from these very waters and pollute them at the same time."

In June of 1998, the Dutch corporation that operated the ss Rotterdam for Holland America, HAL Beheer BV, was sentenced on charges of felony violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and paid a $1 million dollar fine and $1 million in restitution.

The investigation of the corporation and the individuals sentenced today began following a tip from a vessel crew member who refused an order to pump unprocessed oily bilge water overboard. Federal law prohibits the dumping of this waste into coastal waters within three miles of U.S. shoreline. Willem Spierens, also a Dutch National, was the Chief Engineer aboard the ss Rotterdam at the time of the violations and was also charged, but has not appeared in the United States.

This case is a joint prosecution between the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Alaska and the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice. The investigation was conducted by the United States Coast Guard, the EPA, and the FBI.