PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A federal judge in Philadelphia this week decided that no one can definitely point to whoever caused a massive oil spill on the Delaware River in November of 2004.

An abandoned anchor in the dredged part of the river ripped into the hull of the Athos One oil tanker spilling a quarter million barrels of crude near Citgo’s refinery in Paulsboro.

Citgo attorney Rich Whelan says Uncle Sam and the ship’s Greek ownership had sought to recover $177 million in cleanup costs. They came away with nothing.

“No one was able to prove who actually left this anchor in the federal anchorage area or even when. We knew that it was there for several years,” said Whelan.

Appeals could be filed. The government’s share of that cleanup was funded through a surcharge on imported oil in a law created after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. That law requires double hulled ships by 2015. The Athos One had a single hull.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio

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