Create a free Industrial Equipment News account to continue

Citgo to Appeal $120M Oil Spill Fine

The judge ruled Citgo Petroleum Corp. failed to provide a safe berth to the Athos I oil tanker, which spilled a quarter-million gallons of oil into the Delaware River in 2004.

Citgo Gas Prices Flickr 57d2cac98175a

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Industrial products company Citgo plans to appeal an order to pay $120 million for its role in a quarter-million-gallon oil spill in 2004 in the Delaware River, the company said in a court filing.

A federal judge in Philadelphia ordered the Houston-based company last month to pay $71.5 million to Frescati Shipping Co., the ship owner, and Tsakos Shipping & Trading, the ship operator, along with $48.6 million to cover about half of the federal cleanup costs, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The judge ruled Citgo Petroleum Corp. failed to provide a safe berth to the Athos I oil tanker sailing from Venezuela. The ruling followed a lengthy court battle for the case, which has seen three trials and 70 days of court testimony.

"The story of the final voyage of the Athos I and the reasons why it came to rest prematurely may be in the minds of the maritime community for years to come," Judge Joel Slomsky wrote in a ruling. "But in this court, for now, its legal journey will conclude here."

The 264,000-gallon spill occurred when a tanker struck a submerged anchor as it approached the Citgo refinery dock in Paulsboro, New Jersey. It temporarily shut down a nuclear power plant, delayed shipping and killed more than 180 birds.

Citgo had chartered the Athos I to bring in crude oil.

The court ruled that the Athos I pilots, captain and crew maintained proper safety management, which made the vessel seaworthy. The U.S. Coast Guard determined not long after the spill that the crew and pilots did nothing wrong.

More in Safety