The former owner of a Philadelphia area asphalt refinery is liable for a massive 2004 oil spill in the Delaware River and must pay back millions of dollars in cleanup costs, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.
In a 7-2 ruling, the court said that Citgo Asphalt Refining Co., the former owner of the refinery in Paulsboro, was responsible for cleanup costs after a vessel it had chartered struck a submerged, discarded anchor in the river as it nudged toward the Citgo refinery dock.
The puncture in the 748-foot vessel, the Athos I, released 264,000 gallons of heavy crude oil into the river, affecting hundreds of miles of shoreline and impairing shipping for days. The Salem Nuclear Power Plant, which draws cooling water from Delaware Bay, was temporarily shut down. More than 180 birds died, according to reports.
Frescati Shipping Co., which owned the vessel, and the U.S. Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund paid a total of $133 million to clean up the spill. Frescati also sought recovery of costs of repairing its vessel.