33 U.S. Code § 2608 - Civil penalty procedures
After notice and an opportunity for a hearing, a person found by the Secretary of Transportation to have violated this chapter or a regulation prescribed under this chapter for which a civil penalty is provided, is liable to the United States Government for the civil penalty provided. The amount of the civil penalty shall be assessed by the Secretary by written notice. In determining the amount of the penalty, the Secretary shall consider the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the prohibited acts committed and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and other matters that justice requires.
The Secretary may compromise, modify, or remit, with or without consideration, a civil penalty under this chapter until the assessment is referred to the Attorney General.
If a person fails to pay an assessment of a civil penalty after it has become final, the Secretary may refer the matter to the Attorney General for collection in an appropriate district court of the United States.