Melody Dareing May 6, 2014, 9:31am

Another group of plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit over the barge collision in the Houston Ship Channel in March.

This group includes fishermen and shrimpers who are claiming the collision and subsequent oil spill hurt their businesses.

Richard Gilmore, Steven Rushing, Bill Beazley, Lecel Kimball, Lam Huynh, Hong Huynh, Diem Huynk, Mai Huynk, Brian McDaniel, Minh Huynh, Truc Cao, Dan Nguyen, Willaim Praker and Kevin Ballantyne filed a class action lawsuit April 3 in the United States Court Southern District of Texas Galveston Division against Kirby Inland Marine LP and Cleopatra Shipping Agency Ltd., citing negligence, gross negligence and willful conduct.

On March 22, Kirby Inland Marine owned a fuel oil barge being pushed by the M/V Miss Susan and a 585-foot bulk carrier cargo ship M/V Summer Wind owned by Sea Galaxy Marine collided, causing a spill of more than 168,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill spread over 12 miles and destroyed offshore, marine and coastal environments, the complaint said. Businesses that depend on marine life and the environment were harmed, the complaint states.

Those suing are seeking economic and compensatory damages, punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest and court costs.

They are being represented by Anthony G. Busbee of the Buzbee Law Firm.

As previously reported, at least four other suits over the channel crash and oil spill have been filed. A group of commercial fishermen filed the first, with others filed by tourists who had their cruise delayed by the closing of Galveston Bay, a seaman injured during the crash filed a suit and Kirby Inland Marine sued the shipping company for damaging its barges.

Houston-based Kirby Inland Marine alleges in court documents that the March 22 collision, was caused by gross negligence on the part of the ship’s owner, Sea Galaxy Marine, based in Liberia in West Africa. In its court filings, Sea Galaxy said the collision was not its fault.

According to Kirby, the two barges and the tugboat Miss Susan left Texas City and turned left, crossing the ship channel, for the Intracoastal Waterway when the inbound ship, the Summer Wind, traveling through the Houston Ship Channel, collided with the barges. Kirby Inland alleged in court documents the tugboat had broadcast its position. At the time, the Houston Ship Channel was under a fog advisory.

United States District Court Southern District of Texas Galveston Division Case No. 3:14-cv-00118


This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas Galveston Division. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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