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July 10th, 2014

Chronicle: Port of Houston Incidents Rarely Investigated

The Houston Chronicle reports that only a quarter of the 52 incidents since 2008 in the Port of Houston have been formally investigated.

After a March collision between a bulk carrier and barge sent 168,000 gallons of heavy fuel spilling into Galveston Bay, the Chronicle reviewed records related to incidents in the Houston Ship Channel.

While that incident and the actions of the pilots involved remain under investigation, the information obtained through open records requests by the Chronicle show that incidents are rarely formally investigated as part of public hearings, and pilots are almost never disciplined.

In the 52 cases where a formal investigation took place, only one pilot had a formal “letter of caution” placed in his file. This is the second-mildest form of disciplinary action that can be handed down by Board of Pilot Commissioners, which governs Houston Pilots.

Since 1998, only one pilot has had his license revoked, and that case was a result of a failed drug test rather than an accident on the water.

The Houston maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury represent workers injured in accidents in the Ship Channel and all across Texas and the U.S.

Read more in the in-depth Houston Chronicle article.

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