PHILADELPHIA – 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 (http://bit.ly/2bYG6Wk ).
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.