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DEQ fines ship operator for dumping Bay Area water into Willamette

State regulators have issued a $3,500 fine to a merchant ship operator for discharging more than 660,000 gallons of ballast water into the Portland Harbor.

An Oregon Department of Environmental Quality inspector boarded the ship, MV Paiwan Wisdom, on May 20 and found that it had discharged ballast water into the Willamette River that originated from the San Francisco Estuary.

By state law, ballast water from other West Coast ports must undergo a “coastal ocean exchange” more than 50 miles from the Oregon shore. Such laws are designed to avoid import of invasive species into Oregon waters.

DEQ issued the penalty to Taokas Navigation SA, doing business as Wisdom Marine Group. The vessel picked up scrap metal in Portland for shipment to Taiwan.