Shipping line agrees to pay $25 million for illegal oil dumping

Evergreen International, one of the world’s largest shipping lines, agreed Monday to pay a $25 million fine after pleading guilty to 24 felony charges and one misdemeanor involving secretly dumping oil off the coasts of five U.S. states and purposefully lying to U.S. Coast Guard officials about the practice. The plea agreement follows a four-year criminal probe, which found that at least seven of the company’s 140 ships were using what investigators call a “magic pipe” to bypass required oil-water separators. Officials said Evergreen employees were told to deny knowledge of the illegal dumping and tried to hide evidence by cleaning or painting pipes, altering ship records, shutting off alarm systems, and even throwing a pipe section overboard. The $25 million fine is the largest to date in a federal case involving deliberate pollution from a ship.