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Whistleblower Reward Sought For Shipping Pollution

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BALTIMORE (AP) — Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to reward a sailor who reported pollution aboard his ship.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says engineer Salvatore Lopez handed Coast Guard inspectors a note after his ship arrived in Baltimore last winter. Prosecutors say the Filipino sailor later told investigators that crew members had been instructed by senior engineers to dump waste oil and plastic overboard and provided cell phone photographs as evidence.

Prosecutors say the court should grant Lopez half of any criminal fines at sentencing, scheduled Wednesday in Baltimore. The defendants are Efploia Shipping, which operated the vessel, and its Danish owner, Aquarosa Shipping.

Prosecutors say rewarding whistleblowers is not uncommon, noting a 2010 case where four crew members each received $125,000 of $4 million in fines for alerting authorities to violations.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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