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FMC Announces Six Compromise Agreements

August 14, 1997

FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION

FMC ANNOUNCES SIX COMPROMISE AGREEMENTS

NR 97-14

Washington, D.C. 20573

 


CONTACT VERN W. HILL, DIRECTOR,
BUREAU OF ENFORCEMENT AT (202) 523-5783

FOR RELEASE AUGUST 14, 1997

Harold J. Creel Jr., Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, announced today that the Commission has entered into compromise agreements with a shipping conference and a number of common carrier firms for alleged violations of the Shipping Act of 1984, related statutes and Commission regulations, recovering civil penalties aggregating $588,500.

Chairman Creel stated: "The compromise agreements announced today reflect the continued dedication to service of the staff involved in our enforcement program, and in particular the effectiveness of the Commission's Area Representatives. Our agency remains focused upon the objective of ensuring that U.S. foreign commerce is not obstructed by unfair or improper anticompetitive trading practices within the ocean shipping industry. While we recognize the ongoing effort to effectuate regulatory reform legislation, the Commission must, and will continue to, require adherence to all current laws and regulations. We will endeavor to deal swiftly with those who would violate the mandates of the 1984 Act by defrauding others or abusing the public trust in international liner shipping."

Details of the settlements are as follows:

Glacier Bay Park Concessions Inc. Respondent is an Alaska corporation which operates passenger cruises under the trade name Glacier Bay Tours and Cruises. Glacier Bay was charged with violating Public Law 89-777 by advertising and accepting deposits for cruises on the vessel Wilderness Adventurer, without first obtaining a surety bond and Certificate of Performance. Glacier Bay paid the sum of $8,500.

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. Ltd. Hyundai, of Seoul, Korea, is an ocean common carrier providing service in the inbound Transpacific Trades and other trades worldwide. It was alleged that Hyundai violated sections 10(b)(1) and 10(b)(4) of the 1984 Act by failing to charge those rates publicly held out to shippers, and by permitting others to obtain transportation at less than applicable rates through false or unfair devices or means, including commodity misdescription, improper equipment substitution practices, and by other service contract abuses. Pursuant to the compromise, Hyundai has tendered the amount of $265,000.

Inter-American Freight Conference and its member lines. The IAFC is a conference of ocean common carriers providing service between U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ports and ports in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. IAFC maintains U.S. offices in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was alleged that IAFC and its member lines violated sections 10(b)(1) and 10(b)(4) of the 1984 Act by charging rates set forth in certain IAFC service contracts when the involved shipments did not qualify for carriage under such contracts. Under the terms of the settlement, IAFC and its member lines paid the Commission the sum of $130,000.

Jetco Shipping Ltd., General Merchandise Consolidators Ltd. and Pactrans Marine Inc. Jetco Shipping Ltd. is a tariffed and bonded non-vessel-operating common carrier ("NVOCC") based in Hong Kong. General Merchandise Consolidators Ltd. is a tariffed and bonded NVOCC based in Taipei, Taiwan. Pactrans Marine Inc. is a NVOCC destination agent based in Los Angeles, with separately- incorporated offices in Chicago and elsewhere in the United States. Respondents were charged with violating section 10(a)(1) of the 1984 Act by obtaining, or attempting to obtain, transportation of certain commodities at less than the applicable tariff or service contract rates, through the use of a false, fraudulent or unfair device or means, namely commodity misdescriptions and equipment substitution abuses. Respondents jointly paid the sum of $50,000.

Phoenix International Freight Services Ltd. Phoenix International is a tariffed and bonded NVOCC based in Wood Dale, Illinois, operating numerous offices both in the U.S. and overseas. Phoenix International was charged with violating section 10(a)(1) of the 1984 Act by obtaining, or attempting to obtain, transportation of certain commodities at less than the applicable tariff or service contract rates, through the use of an unfair device or means, including commodity misdescriptions and equipment substitution abuses. Respondent paid the sum of $85,000. Speedmark Consolidation Service Ltd. Speedmark is a tariffed and bonded NVOCC based in Taipei, Taiwan. Speedmark also maintains separately-incorporated offices in the United States. Speedmark was charged variously with violating section 10(a)(1) of the 1984 Act by obtaining, or attempting to obtain, transportation of certain commodities at less than the applicable tariff or service contract rates, through the use of an unfair device or means, namely equipment substitution abuses. Under the terms of the compromise, Respondent paid the sum of $50,000.

In concluding the above compromises, respondents did not admit any violations of law. The compromise agreements resulted from investigations by Area Representatives of the Bureau of Enforcement located in Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Staff attorneys with the Bureau of Enforcement negotiated the agreements.