German shipping company pleads guilty in US court for “magic pipe” oil discharges

Photo: Barnard
Photo: Barnard

German company MST Mineralien Schiffahrt Spedition und Transport has pleaded guilty in court in the US state of Maine for obstruction of justice and keeping falsified logbooks to conceal use of a “magic pipe” that conceals discharges of oily bilge waste.

MST has pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and one count of obstruction of justice for keeping falsified logbooks which avoided any mention of actual intentional discharges of oily bilge waste by the bulk carrier Marguerita.

The discharge of waste was said to have occurred over a nine-month period, during which Marguerita regularly made port calls in Portland, Maine.

MST has been sentenced pursuant to a plea agreement and ordered to pay a criminal fine of US$3.2 million. The company will also serve a four-year term of probation wherein vessels operated by the company will need to submit an environmental compliance plan, which will include inspections by an independent auditor.

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