A ConocoPhillips (COP)
(COP) tanker company has agreed to pay a fine and other penalties totaling $2.5m for spilling oily sludge into the ocean after leaving Valdez, Alaska with
a load of oil - and then falsifying records to cover it up, The Anchorage Daily News reported on its Web site recently.
Polar Tankers Inc.
pleaded guilty in Anchorage to a criminal pollution violation, and U.S. District Judge Russel Holland placed Polar on probation for three years, the report said.
Federal prosecutors said company officials dismissed the captain and chief engineer of the tanker, Polar Discovery, according to the report.
While the spill itself would not have been criminal, according to Karen Loeffler, an assistant U.S. attorney, the problem was that the captain and chief engineer tried to hide the spill by not properly documenting it in the ship's logbooks, the newspaper reported.
The judge ordered Polar Tankers to pay a $500,000 criminal fine and to pay $2m to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by Congress, according to the report. The judge approved a $250,000 reward for a crewman who tipped U.S. Coast Guard officials about the spill. [Source: Dow Jones]