Fishing boat captain facing federal charges for dumping waste in SE Alaska

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Captain of a fishing vessel has been indicted on federal charges of discharging 16,000 pounds of a pollutant into Sumner Strait, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

According to federal charging documents, the alleged crime happened in June of 2017 when the fishing vessel, Alaskan Girl, was en route from Wrangell to Petersburg, Alaska with four bags, known as super sacks or brailer bags, on board. The bags contained sandblasting waste generated from the recent re-painting of the Alaskan Girl. The waste - totaling 16,000 pounds or 8 tons - had been loaded on to the vessel under the direction of Brannon Finney, captain of the Alaskan Girl.

Video footage obtained by the U.S. Attorney's office allegedly shows two crew members slicing through one of the brailer bags with a knife, spilling black sandy waste into the water in Sumner Strait, just south of Vank Island. Federal charging documents state at least one of the crew members audibly cheered.

Additional video footage shows Finney being met with an Alaska Wildlife Trooper upon the vessel's arrival in Petersburg. In the video, the trooper informed Finney about a complaint about the vessel leaving the shipyard in Wrangell with sandblasting waste. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, When asked where it went, Finney replied, "We just dumped it."

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