USA: One of the USA's largest seafood companies has agreed to pay a $700,000 fine for illegally importing R22 and committing other clean air violations.
The settlement, outlined in a consent decree lodged by the US Department of Justice on behalf of the US Environmental Protection Agency, concerns the improper release and illegal import of ozone depleting refrigerants.
American Seafoods Co and Pacific Longline Co, both subsidiaries of the American Seafoods Group have agreed to phase out the use of ozone depleting refrigerants, implement a comprehensive leak detection and repair programme aboard a number of their vessels and pay a $700,000 penalty to resolve federal Clean Air Act violations.
Between 2006 and 2009, American Seafoods Company and Pacific Longline Company used R22 as a refrigerant in industrial refrigeration units aboard its fishing vessels. American Seafoods illegally imported 70,000 kg of R22 refrigerant to the United States without holding valid allowances.
The companies were also said to have failed to repair refrigerant leaks in a timely manner; failed to verify adequacy of repairs to its refrigeration systems; having inadequate records of repair service on refrigerant system and using uncertified employees to perform refrigerant-related work.
In addition to the penalty, the companies will spend an estimated $9m to $15m to convert refrigeration systems on several vessels to operate using non-ozone depleting refrigerants. The companies have also purchased and retired R22 allowances to offset the harm caused by their illegal importation.
American Seafoods Company is one of the country's largest seafood harvesters and at-sea processors of pollock, hake, cod, scallops and yellowfin sole. The company sells its products in the United States, Asia and Europe. American Seafoods Company and Pacific Longline Company are based in Seattle.