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Boat owner fined for clean-up of spill off Whidbey Island

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Whidbey Island, Dec. 17

SEATTLE (AP) — The federal government says the owner of a derelict fishing vessel that burned and sank in 2012 off Whidbey Island and spilled more than 5,500 gallons of oil owes $2.8 million to cover the cost of the government response and clean-up.

Seattlepi.com reports Rory Westmoreland has also been fined $301,000 by the state of Washington for violations related to the spill. He also has been sentenced to time in jail related to the oil spill that damaged Penn Cove’s mussel beds.

Attorneys with the U.S. Justice Department claim Westmoreland’s negligence caused the 128-foot vessel to sink. They’re seeking a court order to force Westmoreland to pay the expenses incurred by the Coast Guard during the spill response.

State officials previously claimed the spill would have been averted if Westmoreland had taken basic care of the decrepit crab boat. They say it was a preventable spill.

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