Ship in Texas Oil Spill Accused of "Gross Negligence"

Ship in Texas Oil Spill Accused of "Gross Negligence"

Breitbart Texas reported extensively on a March 22 collision that involved a tugboat and ship in the Houston Ship Channel. As a result of the crash, about 170,000 gallons of oil spilled into the water. Now it has been revealed that the ship involved might have been speeding at the time.  

According to reports from the Associated Press (AP), Kirby Inland Marine alleges that the crash was caused by “gross negligence on the part of the ship’s owner.” The ship is accused of having been speeding when the collision happened. 

The ship’s owner, Sea Galaxy, insists that its own negligence was not the cause. 

At the time of the collision, there was reportedly a fog advisory over the Houston Ship Channel. The tugboat, owned by Kirby Inland, was making its way for the Intracoastal Waterway. Kirby Inland claims it had broadcast its position at the time of the collision. 

A court document filed by Kirby Inland allegedly said, “While the Summer Wind knew of the Miss Susan’s position, at no time did it attempt to adjust its speed or heading to avoid the vessel. The collision occurred, among other reasons, due to the Summer Wind’s excessive, unreasonable speed…and/or by the dangerous or unseaworthy condition of the Summer Wind.”

Kirby Inland has demanded $10 million in damages from Sea Galaxy, according to the AP. 

But Sea Galaxy does not believe it is liable for those damages. The company reportedly responded in court filings, alleging that the collision was “not caused or contributed to in any way by the fault, negligence or lack of due care on the part of … Sea Galaxy.”

Business owners and fishermen negatively affected by the spill have also filed a lawsuit against Kirby Inland and Sea Galaxy, the AP reported. Since the Houston Ship Channel was shut down for several days after the collision, many local companies suffered profit losses. 

In March, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Office announced that it had dispatched “investigators and staff from its Environmental Protection Division to the Galveston Bay oil spill site,” according to a release submitted to Breitbart Texas. “The Office of the Attorney General is on the ground to help determine the loss to local businesses as a result of the spill and – at the appropriate time – will do all we can to recoup losses to local businesses,” General Abbott stated.

In addition, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that his office had dispatched “all necessary resources to respond to this situation, and will continue to do so to ensure the spill is contained and cleaned up with as little impact as possible to the environment and commerce.”

The clean up surrounding to oil spill is currently almost complete, according to recent reports. 

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate


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