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Houston ship channel, Kirby Island Marine, oil spill

Marine firm to pay almost $5M, improve practices after spill

HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston marine services firm has agreed to pay $4.9 million in civil penalties to settle federal claims resulting from a March 2014 collision between its tugboat and a ship that spilled nearly 170,000 gallons of oil into the Houston Ship Channel.

A Justice Department statement says Kirby Inland Marine also pledged to make operational improvements throughout its fleet under a consent decree filed Tuesday in a Houston federal court.

According to court documents, the Kirby tow boat Miss Susan was pushing two 300-foot oil barges in the channel on a foggy day when it tried to cross the channel in Galveston Bay in front of a 585-foot bulk cargo ship, the Summer Winds. The ship struck the lead oil barge, spilling heavy marine fuel oil into the bay.

 

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