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Fleet Management cops $10m fine

San Francisco: Fleet Management, the Hong Kong shipmanagement subsidiary of the Noble Group, that operated the Cosco Busan, a ship that hit the Bay Bridge in San Francisco in 2007, has agreed to a $10 million criminal penalty as part of a settlement with the government.
The Cosco Busan struck a tower of the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland on November 7, 2007, spilling some 50,000 gallons of fuel oil into the bay.
On Thursday, the Department of Justice said, the firm pled guilty to felony obstruction of justice in a deal with federal prosecutors. If a judge approves the plea agreement, the firm will pay a total penalty of $10 million, some $2 million of which would go toward environmental projects around the bay.
Prosecutors said Fleet Management created "false and forged documents after the crash at the direction of shore-based supervisors with an intent to deceive the U.S. Coast Guard."
As part of the plea agreement, Fleet Management admitted "that it was a cause of a discharge of a harmful quantity of oil into the navigable waters of the United States, that it acted negligently, and that its negligence was a proximate cause of the discharge of oil into San Francisco Bay on November 7, 2007," the DOJ said.  [14/08/09]

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