BOSTON (AP) — A Hong Kong-based shipping company has agreed to pay a $10 million fine for dumping 40 tons of oil sludge into the Atlantic Ocean, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Coast Guard officials said it is the biggest criminal fine ever paid anywhere in the world in a case involving deliberate pollution from a single vessel.

Under a deal with prosecutors in Boston, MSC Ship Management Limited agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, making false statements and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships.

U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said one of the company's container ships, the MSC Elena, discharged the sludge during a five-month period in 2004 by using a specially fitted steel pipe to bypass required pollution prevention equipment.