State finally banishes Zeus from Freeport

Zeus lords over Freeport. (Nick de la Torre/Chronicle)

The Texas General Land Office will finally get the rusting jack-up rig Zeus that has loomed over the Freeport Ship Channel more than 14 years moved, according to a release by commissioner Jerry Patterson.

“The Land Office will pay Cleveland Wrecking Company $1.75 million to dismantle the Zeus Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU) from the mouth of the Freeport Ship Channel, where it has leaked pollutants and threatened to topple over and block access to the port.”

Patterson ordered the removal under a new authority granted by the Legislature to remove derelict vessels and structures from state waters.
Crews will start on the project this week and it should be done by mid-April, Patterson said.

“Patterson said the owner of the Zeus, who bought it for a $1 in 2004, has been given every opportunity to remove the rig from state waters at his own expense. But once the Zeus began leaking oil in September 2006, it became clear the rig needed to go. The Land Office is now in possession of the rig.”

The state took action last year to get the rig moved and a judge later said the owner would be fined $700 a day for every day it remained.

Freeport LNG terminal, as seen from Quintana beach. (Karen Warren/Chronicle)

Good thing they’re moving it, since it was blocking views of the Freeport LNG terminal, set to open this month.