At the request of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the Benton County District Court ordered defendant Brandon Traner to pay the state $144,000 for cleanup of the Columbia River after he was convicted last month of allegedly abandoning a fishing trawler in the river.
Wednesday's ruling is the first derelict vessel conviction in Washington State. The conviction was obtained by Ferguson’s office after Traner’s trawler sank and released 50 gallons of diesel fuel and 8 gallons of motor and hydraulic oils into the river.
“Derelict vessels hurt the environment and cost taxpayers millions,” Ferguson said. “This conviction sends a strong message: My office will track down environmental criminals and hold them accountable.”
The restitution ordered will replenish funds from the Department of Natural Resources and Ecology accounts used to remove the boat from the river.
Traner pleaded guilty on Aug. 7 to two offenses, abandoning a derelict vessel and discharge of polluting matters into state water. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail, $540 in fines and assessments and two years on probation.
Ferguson has made prosecuting environmental crimes a priority of his administration and filed charges against the owners of two other derelict vessels in late January.