Two shipping firms based in Germany and Cyprus have pleaded guilty to felony obstruction of justice charges and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, regarding the deliberate concealment of vessel pollution from four ships that visited U.S. ports in New Jersey, Delaware and Northern California, according to the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in New Jersey and Delaware and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Paul J. Fisherman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and Capt. Todd Wiemers, U.S. Coast Guard Deputy Commander of the Delaware Bay, announced the plea agreement.
According to a multi-district plea agreement arising out of charges brought in the District of New Jersey and the District of Delaware, Columbia Shipmanagement from Germany and Columbia Shipmanagement from Cyprus have agreed to pay a $10.4 million penalty and be placed on probation for four years.
The guilty pleas were entered before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in federal court in Newark, N.J. Sentencing is set for June 24, 2013.