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2 shipping companies sentenced to $10.4 million in fines for illegal dumping

Two international shipping firms will pay $10.4 million in penalties for obstructing justice and illegally dumping pollutants.

Columbia Shipmanagement, a German company, and Columbia Shipmanagement Ltd. of Cyprus were sentenced Tuesday to pay $2.6 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and $7.8 million as a criminal fine. The U.S. Attorney's Office said the companies are affiliates owned by the same holding company.

The companies pleaded guilty in March in what authorities characterized as a pattern of falsifying records to hide the illegal dumping of engine sludge and oil-contaminated waste into the ocean.

The four ships in question docked in California, Delaware and New Jersey. The cases were consolidated in New Jersey.

The companies also were placed on four years' probation and will be subject to a compliance plan.

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