November 28, 2018
Two Greek shipping firms are pleading guilty to charges they dumped oil off the Texas coast near the Port of Houston and then made false statements about it.
Meanwhile, reports on Tuesday of an oil spill just off the coast of Baytown have not been substantiated.
The two Greek companies, Avin International LTD, and Nicos I.V. Special Maritime Enterprises, pleaded guilty on Monday in a Beaumont federal court — and were fined a total of $4 million — on charges related to the dispersal of oil twice from one vessel into the waters of the Port of Houston on July 6 and July 7, 2017 while deballasting operations were underway.
The spill was not reported either to authorities or in the vessel’s oil log, and when asked about the spill company employees lied to US Coast Guard investigators, prosecutors said.
On Tuesday, the Texas General Land Office said it has not found evidence of a reported oil spill in Tabbs Bay, just off Baytown.
“The Oil Spill Division deployed an investigation team, but has not yet reached a conclusion,” Karina Erickson, interim communications director for the GLO, told the Baytown Sun.
“We will continue to monitor the area. In addition, we have contacted all operators in the local area to ensure their equipment is functioning properly and not releasing or leaking oil.”