Two Greek shipping companies have been ordered to pay $4 million in fines following illegal oil discharges by their vessels into the waters of two Texas ports, according to a press release issued on Friday by the US Department of Justice.
“Two Greek shipping companies, Avin International LTD and Nicos IV Special Maritime Enterprises, were sentenced today… on charges stemming from several discharges of oil into the waters of Texas ports,” the statement notes.
Avin International was the operator, and Nicos I.V. Special Maritime Enterprises was the owner, of the Nicos I.V., which is a Greek-flagged vessel.
The Master of the Nicos I.V., Rafail-Thomas Tsoumakos, and the vessel’s Chief Officer, Alexios Thomopoulos, also pleaded guilty to making materially false statements to members of the United States Coast Guard during the investigation into the discharges, the statement adds.
Both companies pled 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, on Nov. 26, 2018.
Under the plea agreement, the companies will pay a $4 million criminal fine and serve a four-year probation term, during which vessels operated by the companies will be required to implement an environmental compliance plan, including inspections by an independent auditor.