Kirby Inland Marine will pay $15.3 million in damages to resolve federal and state claims from a 2014 incident after a Kirby barge caused an oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel.
irby will pay for natural resource damages from the spill, which the federal and state trustees will jointly use to plan, design, and perform projects to restore or improvethe impacts.
In addition, Kirby also has been paying the federal and state trustees and in 2016 was fined $4.9 million by the U.S. Coast Guard in civil penalties and injunctive relief measures to improve the company’s operations to help prevent future spills.
The incident took place in March 2014 in the Houston Ship Channel. Then, the Kirby towboat, Miss Susan, attempted to push two 300-foot-long oil barges across the Houston Ship Channel in front of the oncoming M/V Summer Wind, that was already underway in the Channel.
The bulker hit one of the barges causing a discharge of approximately 4,000 barrels (168,000 gallons) of oil.
The oil polluted waters and was washed onshore from the collision site down to Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi.
It also caused significant impacts and injuries to the Texas coastline including the wildlife refuge on Matagorda Island, and to aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
Furthermore, the oil spill forced the Houston Ship Channel to close, while also disrupting recreational uses of the Texas coastline.
This case illustrates that the stakes are high, the harms are serious, and the United States and its state partners will diligently pursue and secure compensation for injuries to natural resources resulting from oil spills
said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.