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Plea deal results in record fine for tanker company that polluted 5 US cities

[JURIST] One of the world's largest oil tanker companies was sentenced to pay a $27.8 million criminal fine for intentionally polluting the waters near five cities, the US Justice Department and the US Attorney's Office in Boston announced [press release] Wednesday. Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. (OSG) [corporate profile] pleaded guilty Wednesday in the US District Court for Massachusetts [official website], admitting that a dozen tankers leaked waste during a nearly five-year period that ended last March. The cities affected were Portland, ME, Wilmington, NC, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. OSG was charged with 12 offenses including conspiracy, false statements, obstruction of justice, and violations of the Clean Water Act [text; EPA summary] and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 [text; EPA summary].

OSG agreed to pay $9.2 million toward marine environmental projects nationwide, bringing the total penalty to $37 million - the largest resulting from a plea agreement for deliberate vessel pollution, according to the Justice Department. US District Judge Reginald C. Lindsay [official profile] also approved whistleblower payments to 12 OSG workers pursuant to the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships [text]. Each will receive $437,500. OSG is also subject to an independently monitored environmental compliance program during its three-year probation. Reuters has more. The Boston Globe has local coverage.

This report was prepared in partnership with the Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law.

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