German company fined for illegal discharges in Atlantic

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A federal judge has ordered a shipping company that illegally discharged wastewater to pay a $3.2 million criminal fine and institute an environmental compliance plan.

German shipping company MST pleaded guilty Monday to obstruction of justice and maintaining false records to conceal pollution from the M/V Marguerita, which made ports of call in Portland, Maine.

Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark called the company a "repeat offender" that has shown "contempt for the rule of law." MST was convicted of similar environmental crimes in Minnesota in 2016.

In Maine, the company installed a system that bypassed pollution prevention control equipment, allowing discharges of oily mixtures and wastewater in 2016 and 2017.

The scheme was uncovered by a whistleblower. The chief engineer who allegedly orchestrated the illegal discharges has been fired.