Tug Company to Pay Nearly $1M for Seagrass Damage

Friday, January 10, 2003
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Oak Brook, Ilinois will pay nearly $1 million for damages to seagrass and other resources in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Justice Department and the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today.

The $969,000 settlement reached on behalf of NOAA and the State of Florida is the largest ever obtained for damages to seagrass in the sanctuary. The funds, combined with an earlier $618,485 settlement obtained from co-defendant Coastal Marine Towing, will help restore the injured areas and reimburse NOAA for response costs. "We are thrilled with the settlement," said Sharon Shutler, attorney for the NOAA General Counsel for Natural Resources. "We wanted to restore this site in 1993 when the groundings occurred. Now we finally have the means to restore these important Sanctuary resources." In May 1993, four tug boats owned by the two companies were transporting heavy dredging equipment and dredge pipes from the Boca Grande Channel off Florida's west coast to Green Cove Spring on the east coast. Before the flotilla reached Seven Mile Bridge off Marathon, Florida, one or more of the dredge pipes being towed by one of the tugs came loose and dragged across the bottom of Florida Bay, causing a scar 13 miles long and destroying 196,764 square feet of seagrass and other sanctuary resources. The dragging pipe caused the tug to slow and another tug attempted to pass her. The other vessel ran hard aground, creating a massive hole and destroying 80,675 square feet of seagrass and coral, about one and a half times the size of a football field, at an area called Red Bay Banks off Marathon. While the coral reefs are the sanctuary's most famous resource, seagrass meadows and other habitats, such as the mixed seagrass and finger coral bottom at Red Bay Banks, are critical to fish and other marine life populations. Seagrass also filters and stabilizes sediments, helping to create clear waters.

"The restoration of our natural resources is one of our top priorities," said Tom Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The funds provided as a result of today's settlement will help us come closer to achieving this goal in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary." The National Marine Sanctuaries Act authorizes NOAA to seek damages from the responsible party in a grounding to cover response costs, injury and damage assessment costs, costs to restore or replace the damaged habitat or acquire equivalent habitat, and costs to compensate the public for the value of the damage resources until they fully recover. NOAA developed a restoration strategy that involved stabilizing the blowhole and transplanting seagrasses into off-site areas damaged by boats to compensate for the lost services provided by the resources destroyed in the incident. NOAA sought the cost of the restoration and assessment costs from the two companies, eventually filing suit in Federal District Court. Both the Federal District Court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals found Great Lakes strictly liable for the injuries to sanctuary resources. Both courts upheld NOAA's methodologies for determining the appropriate amount of compensatory restoration, however, the courts had not agreed on the proper measure of damages necessary to restore the bank. As a result, a settlement was reached with the two companies. The NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, designated in 1990, protects 2,896 square nautical miles of critical marine habitat, including coral reef, hardbottom, seagrass meadows, mangrove communities and sand flats. NOAA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection manage the sanctuary.

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter June 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

Port Everglades, EPA to Study Air Emissions

Port Everglades has signed a partnership agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study air emissions.   The EPA's Office of Transportation

Lloyd's Register Extends Drilling Rig Integrity Support

Exploration begins by BHP Billiton using the Deepwater Invictus rig and supported by Lloyd’s Register’s rig integrity team. Lloyd’s Register (LR) announced it

Groningen Seaports First in Line for Damen InvaSave

The first production version of Damen’s InvaSave ballast water treatment system – intended for use at Groningen Seaports – will be on display at the upcoming ‘DelfSail’

Passenger Vessels

Fincantieri Delivers Seven Seas Explorer

The first of two ultra luxury cruise ships delivered for Regent Seven Seas Cruises   Seven Seas Explorer, the newest ultra luxury ship of Regent Seven Seas Cruises,

Broadband Upgrade for MSC Cruises

Intelsat S.A. has been selected by Marlink to deliver fast, high quality Intelsat EpicNG broadband connectivity to Mediterranean Shipping Company’s (MSC) cruise ships.

Hybrid RoPax Ferry Delivered to Royal TESO

Hybrid RoPax ferry Texelstroom has been delivered to Koninklijke N.V. Texels Eigen Stoomboot Onderneming (Royal TESO).   This latest generation symmetrical ferry is powered by efficient,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0818 sec (12 req/sec)