Germany-based shipping company MST Mineralien Schiffahrt Spedition und Transport (MST) has been fined $3.2m for hindering justice and forging records to hide oil pollution from one of its ships, M/V Marguerita.

According to the US Department of Justice, MST pleaded guilty to the intentional discharges of oily bilge waste occurring over a period of nine months.

Marguerita regularly visited the port in Portland, Maine, US, during the entire period.

MST will serve a four-year-long probation period, where the company’s vessels will have to implement an environmental compliance plan, including inspections by an independent auditor.

The US Coast Guard Investigative Service and the US Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, which inspected Marguerita, have investigated the case.

“Today’s action demonstrates that the Coast Guard and the Justice Department will not stand by while foreign vessels intentionally pollute our oceans.”

MST released oily bilge waste from Marguerita using a so-called ‘magic pipe’ instead of required oil pollution-prevention equipment.

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This act violated the global MARPOL treaty and resulted in non-maintenance of the vessel’s oil record book, which is inspected by the US Coast Guard to assure compliance.

US assistant attorney general Jeffrey Bossert Clark said: “Today’s action demonstrates that the Coast Guard and the Justice Department will not stand by while foreign vessels intentionally pollute our oceans and then try to cover up their criminal acts by lying to the US Coast Guard.

“This company is a repeat offender, which makes plain that it has shown contempt for the rule of law.”

MST was previously convicted of similar environmental crimes in the District of Minnesota, US, in 2016. The company forged the oil record book for the M/V Cornelia vessel, hiding deliberate discharges of oil-contaminated bilge waste.