Beaumont refinery sues to recover costs associated with Neches oil spill

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 13, 2010, 10:29am

The Unocal Beaumont Terminal, located on the Neches River, spent approximately $1.1 million in recovery costs after an oil tanker ruptured in 2004.

In order to recoup its costs, the terminal has filed suit against those it alleges are responsible for the oil spill.

Union Oil Company of California filed suit against Buffalo Marine Service Inc., Torm A/S, Torm USA LLC and Torm Singapore Pte. Ltd, Torm India Private Ltd., Estrid Shipping Corp., A/S D/S Torm, MR Management K/S, and the M/V Torm Mary on April 5 in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

In August 2004, the Buffalo Marine Barge struck the product tanker M/V Torm Mary, which was anchored on the Neches River upstream from the Beaumont Terminal. The U.S. Coast Guard ordered a shut-down of the Neches River due to the resulting oil spill. The oil reached the terminal's docks as well as various vessels that were located at the terminal.

As a result of the shut-down, the plaintiff sustained substantial operational disruptions including lost profits, property damage, and costs associated with the oil spill clean-up and response efforts.

The plaintiff states the defendants are liable for the costs under the Federal Oil Pollution Act.

The plaintiff is asking the court to award actual and compensatory damages for economic damages, out-of-pocket expenses, removal and clean-up costs, lost time and lost profits, attorneys' fees and expenses, court costs and interest.

Houston attorneys John W. Bridger and Fernando De Leon of Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard L.L.P are representing the plaintiff. Jury trial requested.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone is assigned to the case.

Case No 1:10cv00195

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