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Port of New Orleans Sued Over Oil Spill

Problems for New Orleans public entities keep mounting.

In Early December, Singapore company Antares Maritime PTE Ltd sued the Port of New Orleans for upwards of $10 million in damages relating to an April 12th fuel oil spill on the Mississippi River. While the ship that spilled the fuel is owned by Antares, the company feels the responsibility is solely that of the Port, stating that a steel plate part of an old docking system under their authority was to blame.

On April 12, 2018, two tugboats were helping the Pac Antares to dock when the boat ran against some steel plating installed on the wharf. The piece was part of an older docking system designed container ships that hasn’t been used at the wharf in over 10 years. According to the company, not only did the steel plating extend past protective wooden fender piles, but several of those piles were also broken or missing.

The suit says:

“As a direct result of these conditions, the steel plate acted like a can opener and scraped along the vessel’s hull, ultimately puncturing the hull and the vessel’s starboard bunker tank,” the suit said. “The puncture resulted in a spill of about 2,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into the Mississippi River.”

The suit alleges that the Port was aware of the damages to the wooden fenders and other hazards, but took no steps to repair them.

An estimated 4,200 gallons were thought to have been spilled, flowing past the opening day of the French Quarter Festival. Days later, 11,500 gallons of liquid waste and 348 cubic yards of solid waste were ultimately recovered. All of this resulted in halted traffic on the river and potential health concerns for those living nearby. There is currently a natural resources damage assessment underway. Based on the results of that, the company could be asked to mitigate for damages to wildlife.

Antares Maritime PTE Ltd. is requesting punitive damages in its own lawsuit against the Port.

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