Illegal Immigrants Discovered Among Oil Spill Cleanup Crew at Massachusetts EXXONMobil Terminal

U.S. Coast Guard officials have asserted that the discovery of illegal immigrants at the ExxonMobil in Everett, Massachusetts is a violation of the federal Maritime Transportation Security Act. The law requires, among other things, that terminal operators in U.S. ports maintain a federal security plan and conduct identity checks on people that access their properties. The 15 workers were arrested on June 30 and the terminal was closed for a short period as investigations into the breach of security were ongoing.

The illegal aliens were reportedly hired by an EXXON contractor which was brought in to clean up an oil spill at the marine facility The contractor, Fleet Environmental Services of Randolph, has said that it did not know that the workers were undocumented and further stated that Fleet policies required temporary labor companies to provide documentation of 40-hour OSHA training and citizenship/work status.

Coast Guard officials say that it was clear that proper ID checks were not being conducted at the terminal, and characterized the event as “a serious security breakdown.” With Homeland Security Department officials already nervous about potential holes in port security nationwide, the incident in Massachusetts further underscores the difficulties inherent in keeping the country’s 95,000 miles of shoreline safe.

EXXONMobil officials said that internal investigations were underway. Of particular concern to local officials is the close proximity of the Distrigas Terminal to EXXON’s local terminal. LNG received by Distrigas arrives via heavily guarded LNG tankers which, failing the alert security services at Distrigas last Friday, might have been exposed to unnecessary risks.