[JURIST] The US District Court for the District of Alaska [official website] Tuesday ordered ConocoPhillips [corporate website] subsidiary Polar Tankers, Inc. to pay $2.5 million in fines after it pleaded guilty to covering up a 2004 oil spill. In January 2004, crew members of the Polar Discovery failed to report that that tanker had leaked oil sludge into the ocean off the Alaska coast, and maneuvered the vessel to hide evidence of the spill. On Tuesday, Polar Tankers entered a guilty plea for improper maintenance of the oil record book. Judge H. Russel Holland issued a criminal fine of $500,000, half of which was awarded to a whistleblowing crewmember. A community service fine of $2 million was assessed, to be paid to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation [advocacy website] for future cleanup efforts in the region.
The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance [official website] said the sentence showed that violators of oil spill and marine protection laws [materials] will be held accountable. Polar Tankers was also placed on probation for three years. AP has more.