A pollution whistle blower may be granted a financial reward Wednesday at the sentencing of two foreign shipping companies that were illegally pumping oily sludge and plastic into the sea and falsifying records to cover their tracks, according to court filings.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland filed a motion in the state's federal court Tuesday asking U.S. District Court Judge Marvin J. Garbis to grant one half of any fine imposed on the companies to ship engineer Salvatore Lopez, who alerted the U.S. Coast Guard in Baltimore to the companies' illicit behavior.
One of the companies, Efploia Shipping, filed an opposition to the government's request, arguing that Lopez waited to blow the whistle until the ship docked in the U.S., where he would receive an award, and effectively put off an end to the pollution.
Lopez "consciously sacrificed the goal of environmental compliance to his personal financial greed," said the company, which has agreed to pay a $925,000 criminal fine in the case, according to court records.
The other defendant, Aquarosa Shipping, had not filed any opposition to the motion as of 8 p.m. Tuesday.