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Crew convicted of covering up oil pollution

Atlas Ship Management Ltd., a Turkish Corporation, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla., to federal charges of making false statements and knowingly failing to accurately maintain an oil record book as required by international treaty and U.S. law, Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno and U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announced Friday.

The company was sentenced to pay an $800,000 criminal fine, pay $100,000 in community service to the Pinellas County, Fla., Environmental Fund, and to implement a comprehensive environmental compliance program that requires detailed inspection and auditing of the defendant's ships that sail into the United States.

"As this case clearly demonstrates, there is no benefit to deliberately bypassing pollution prevention equipment and dumping oil waste into the ocean. This is simply criminal behavior," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources division of the Department of Justice. "Thanks to a tip from crewmembers, the operators of the M/V Avenue Star will pay a significant penalty for breaking the law."

Click here for the full Department of Justice report.