Two Greek shipping companies have been sentenced to pay a $4m fine and serve probations related to charges stemming from multiple illegal discharges of oil into Texas waters by oil tanker Nicos I.V. (IMO 9103843), Reuters reports.
A judge in the Eastern District of Texas sentenced the two companies, Avin International Ltd and Nicos I.V. Special Maritime Enterprises, to pay a fine of $4m last week after on November 26th 2018 the two companies pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an agency proceeding, one count of failure to report discharge of oil under the Clean Water Act, and three counts of negligent discharge of oil under the Clean Water Act.
The Master of the Nicos I.V., Rafail-Thomas Tsoumakos, and the vessel’s Chief Officer, Alexios Thomopoulos, also pleaded guilty to making material false statements to members of the US Coast Guard during the investigation into the discharges. Mr. Tsoumakos and Mr. Thomopoulos both pleaded guilty to one count of making a material false statement and were sentenced to pay fines of $10,000 each on December 20th 2018.
Avin International was the operator and Nicos I.V. Special Maritime Enterprises was the owner of the Nicos I.V. Under the plea agreement, the companies will pay a $4m criminal fine and serve a four-year term of probation, during which time vessels operated by the companies will be required to implement an environmental compliance plan, including inspections by an independent auditor.
After leaving the Port of Houston, en route to Port Arthur, Texas, oil was observed in several of the ballast tanks. After arriving in Port Arthur, additional oil began bubbling up next to the vessel, which was then reported to the U.S. Coast Guard.
2002-built, Greece-flagged, 31,183 gt Nicos I.V. is owned by Nicos IV Ene care of manager Avin International of Athens, Greece. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of Nicos I.V. Special Maritime Enterprise