Avin fined $4m over Texan oil discharge

Greek owner Avin International pleaded guilty yesterday in a federal court in Beaumont, Texas, to charges stemming from several discharges of oil into the waters of Texas ports by the product tanker Nicos IV.

The master of the ship, Rafail-Thomas Tsoumakos, and the vessel’s chief officer, Alexios Thomopoulos, also pleaded guilty to making material false statements to members of the United States Coast Guard during the investigation into the discharges.

Avin will pay a $4m criminal fine and serve a four-year term of probation, during which vessels operated by the companies will be required to implement an environmental compliance plan, including inspections by an independent auditor. Tsoumakos and Thomopoulos face up to five years in prison when sentenced. A sentencing date has not been set.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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