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Japanese shipping firm fined $1.75m for pollution

Washingon: Japanese shipping firm Hiong Guan Navegacion has been fined $1.75m for dumping oily waste into the ocean and falsifying records to cover it up, the US Justice Department said Tuesday, writes AFP.

A US District Judge ordered the fine after finding that a Hiong Guan Navegacion Japan vessel had bypassed onboard equipment designed to deal with oil and sludge and dumped the materials directly overboard. The firm pleaded guilty to the charges and to falsifying ship documents to cover up their deeds.

The two men who acted as the ship's chief engineers were fined $1,500 and $1,000 respectively and put on probation for one and three years.

"Hiong Guan is paying for failing to follow the law by, among other things, attempting to mislead the Coast Guard with falsified environmental-compliance records," John Cruden, an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department is quoted as saying.

Some $400,000 of the fine is expected to be used for clean-up and conservation projects in the Tampa Bay area.  [25/02/09]

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