In 2005, House Bill 2096 granted the Texas Land Commissioner the authority to remove wrecked, derelict or substantially dismantled vessels or structures in Texas coastal waters.
The Commissioner can have such vessels removed and may recover the costs of removal, storage, and disposal from the owner or operator of the vessel or structure. Any recovered costs are deposited in the coastal protection fund.
One of the more interesting and costly removal projects involved the Zeus, a huge, derelict Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit abandoned along the Freeport Ship Channel for 17 years. The U.S. Coast Guard determined that a hurricane or tornado could easily cause the Zeus to collapse, possibly blocking a wide portion of the channel and access to a dozen petrochemical plants.
The Commissioner ordered the rig removed in July 2007 and the 80th Legislature authorized $2 million for the job. In May 2008, the Zeus was brought down in a controlled demolition and its remains were cut up and either recycled or safely disposed of.