|WASHINGTON - Oil tanker operator OMI Corp (OMM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) was fined 4.2 million dol. for illegally concealing the dumping of thousands of gallons of waste oil and sludge at sea, the U.S. Justice Department said.|
A federal judge ordered OMI Corp to pay the fine and serve three years of probation, the Justice Department said in a statement.
The judge awarded .1 million of the total fine to a former OMI crew member who reported the crimes to the government.
OMI pleaded guilty and admitted that it had deliberately discharged waste oil, sludge and oily-water mixtures directly overboard from the oil tanker Guadalupe without using required pollution prevention equipment.
The company said the deliberate discharges were concealed in a false oil record book - a required log in which all overboard discharges must be recorded and which is regularly inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Justice Department said the government learned about OMI\'s illegal acts in 2001 when the ship\'s second engineer walked off the ship after it docked in Carteret, New Jersey, and told local police that he was being ordered to engage in criminal activity.
\"This case should send a message that polluting our environment and lying to the government will not be tolerated,\" said Tom Sansonetti, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department\'s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
The ship\'s captain, Ashok Kumar, and chief engineer, Elangovan Mani, have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
The company was not immediately available for comment.
Shares of OMI fell 55 cents to .08 in mid-afternoon trade.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE