$510,000 in Fines Levied in Oil Spill

From Associated Press

The owner of a Greek tanker that ran aground and spilled thousands of gallons of heating oil off Newport in June was fined $500,000 Friday, and a federal judge ruled that the captain must pay $10,000.

The captain, Iakovos E. Georgudis, and Ballard Shipping Co. pleaded guilty Aug. 16 to one count of violating the federal Clean Water Act in connection with the June 23 spill of nearly 300,000 gallons of oil at the mouth of Narragansett Bay.

Ballard, a Liberian company, promised to pay $500,000 to the state for environmental research and park acquisition. Georgudis agreed to the $10,000 fine to avoid jail or probation.

Each misdemeanor count carried a possible year in jail and fines of up to double the actual damages. U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres said he would not jail Georgudis, because the captain had cooperated with investigators and his actions were “negligent, as opposed to willful or reckless.”