Kirby Inland Marine reached out-court settlement for Houston Ship Channel oil spill

tug Miss Susan oil spillThe Houston-based shipping operator Kirby Inland Marine reached out-court settlement for March 2014 oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel. The US largest shipping company for inland tank barges and towing vessels agreed to pay 4.9 million USD civil settlement until the Clean Water Act. Kirby Inland Marine is also obliged to improve its fleet and take remedial measures for environment protection on hundreds of its vessels. The improvement include also installing enhanced navigational equipment, improving employee training, operational procedures and practices, as well as high level of environmental protection from oil spills.

In March 2014, the tug Miss Susan was pushing two 90-meter barges, which collided with ship Summer Wind at Houston Ship Channel. The accident caused 4,000-barrel heavy marine fuel oil spill from the barge and major environment pollution in the area. Approximately 160 miles of shoreline were oiled as a result of the spill, including sensitive marsh habitat, the national wildlife refuge on Matagorda Island, Mustang Island State Park and Padre Island National Seashore, the Justice Department said. A full assessment of the injuries caused by the spill to marine and terrestrial natural resources is ongoing.

“This settlement sends a clear message that vessel owners and operators have a responsibility to protect our waters, people and the environment from oil spills and those who violate that duty will be held accountable under the law”, said Assistant Attorney General, John Cruden. “The remedial measures in this agreement will upgrade navigational equipment, provide employee training, and improve operational practices across an entire fleet of vessels”

Kirby Inland Marine is US company, which operates the nation’s largest fleet of inland tank barges and towing vessels. The company transports petrochemicals, liquid fertilizer, refined oil products, black oil and etc. Kirby’s service area spans America’s inland waterway network, operating 901 active inland tank barges and 241 active towing vessels.