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A tanker captain and his chief engineer, defendants in a rare criminal prosecution for environmental damage, have pleaded innocent to charges they deliberately dumped oil into the Pacific Ocean.

Capt. Dimitrios Georgantas and engineer Lampros Karaganis will be allowed to return home to Greece after a shipping company signs guarantees for their $500,000 bonds.

If convicted, the two men face up to three years in prison, said Douglas R. Schwartz, Georgantas' lawyer. The spill last September killed at least 150 seabirds and cost $1.25 million to clean up, authorities said.

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