Shipping company pleads guilty to dumping waste water into Great Lakes

- A German shipping company pled guilty Tuesday to illegally dumping oily waste water from one of their ships into the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior, and covering it up. 

From February 2015 to October 2015, the chief engineer of the Cornelia, a German-owned ship, ordered the crew to dump oily waste water overboard, according to court documents. On at least one occasion, the ship dumped oily waste water into the Great Lakes.

The ship’s chief engineer intentionally failed to record the transfers and discharges of oily waste water in the ship’s official oil record book, giving the false impression the oily waste water had been properly handled and disposed.

While the Cornelia was docked in Duluth, United States Coast Guard inspectors boarded the ship to conduct a routine examination and were given the false entries. The ship was not allowed to leave Duluth from November until mid-December while officials investigated.

The Cornelia is owned by the German shipping company MST, which operates dry bulk carriers. As part of their guilty plea, MST will be required to pay an $800,000 criminal fine to the United States. The company will also have to make a $200,000 community service payment to support the protection and preservation of Lake Superior and the Lake Superior watershed.

The company must also fund and implement an environmental compliance plan for all ships it operates that service ports in the U.S.

“The criminal fine and community service payment imposed by the court provide a strong deterrent to future would-be polluters and significant funding to preserve and protect Lake Superior for future generations,” Assistant U.S. attorney John Kokkinen said in a statement. 

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