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Tugboat Captain Sentenced

The captain of a tugboat involved in a maritime incident in 2008 that led to a massive oil spill in the Mississippi River has been sentenced to three years of probation.

Terry Carver was a captain on the MV Mel Oliver, on July 20th, 2008 he excused himself from duty and traveled to Illinois for some personal reasons. He left the vessel under the care of an under-licensed employee. There were no other licensed employees on the tug.  On July 23rd 2008, at about 1:30 am, the tugboat collided with a 600-foot tanker, Tintomara. The collision resulted in a release of close to 283,000 gallons of fuel into the lower Mississippi River.

The unlicensed employee was John Bavaret a licensed apprentice mate aboard the tugboat, and from the 20th of July 2008 to the 23rd July 2008, he steered the tugboat without a properly licensed captain present. He’s currently awaiting sentencing.

In January, the DRD Towing Company, which operated the MV Mel Oliver, was sentenced to two years probation, as well as $200,000 in fines for violations of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act. One of the owners of the company was sentenced to 21 months of imprisonment and $50,000 in fines to settle charges of obstruction of justice.