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Mar 9, 2012 11:01 AM by AP

Ship operator pleads guilty in pollution probe

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The operator of a cargo ship has pleaded guilty in New Orleans to violating federal pollution laws and obstruction of justice.

A plea agreement entered Thursday calls for Athens, Greece-based Odysea Carriers to pay a $1.2 million criminal penalty. A community service organization in Louisiana would receive $100,000 of that money.

Federal prosecutors say engine room crew members on the company's ship, Polyneos, used a hose to pump oil waste directly overboard in 2011.

The ship's chief engineer allegedly tried to conceal the illegal discharges from the Coast Guard by falsifying the vessel's records.

Sentencing for the company is set for July 25.

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