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Two lafrge shipping containers, stamped with the words “Contains: Guided Missile,” were discovered in the Pacific Ocean near Alaska Sunday.
Alaska State Troopers said the containers were empty, and information from tags attached to the boxes was sent to the U.S. military. There was no immediate public comment from military officials.
On April 15, federal prosecutors announced that Princess Cruise Lines had pleaded guilty to illegal ocean dumping and would be fined $500,000.
Late at night, during a 1991 cruise, crew members tossed 20 bags of plastic trash into waters off the Florida coast. A passenger recorded the incident on videotape.
But even as environmentalists and congressional leaders praised the tough prosecution, sailors on U.S. Navy ships were throwing hundreds of bags containing the same kind of garbage into oceans all over the world and sailing away scot-free.
Protected by exemptions in federal laws, the Navy estimates its 452 ships will dump about 1.2 million pounds of plastic overboard this year - trash that private vessels must keep on board.
"The Navy is being a good steward of the environment," said spokeswoman Lt. Jackie Yost. "We're trying to lead the way."