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.