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Hebei Spirit oil spill damage costs grow

Hebei Spirit oil spill damage costs grow

Seoul: The estimated cost of damages caused by South Korea's worst oil spill may reach as high as over 573.5 billion won (US$554 million), a local government official here said Thursday.
Last December, around 12,000 tons of crude oil spilled into the west sea following a collision between an oil tanker owned by the Hong Kong-registered Hebei Spirit Shipping Co. and a barge owned by Samsung Heavy Industries Co. in waters off Taean County, South Chungcheong Province, blackening beaches and fish farms along the west coast.
The barge, which was carrying a crane, separated from its two tugboats and collided with the tanker. Officials at South Chungcheong Province said the total amount of losses arising from the spill is currently estimated at a maximum figure of 573.5 billion won, quoting Willem Oosterveen, director of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds).
The newly estimated loss has increased 149.5 billion won from the amount originally released by the IOPC Funds in March.
"The increase came as business activities (in Taean) have yet to normalize, and with consumer trust in Taean's seafood products having decreased, there are likely to be less visitors," said an official.
At the sentencing trial held at the Seosan branch of the Daejeon District Court earlier this week, Samsung Heavy Industries was fined 30 million won (US$28,874) and the captain of one of the tugboats was sentenced to three years in jail. The court acquitted the Hebei Spirit Shipping, as well as the ship's captain and chief officer, of all criminal charges in the trial. [27/6/08]


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