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SHI to set up $106m oil spill fund

SHI to set up $106m oil spill fund

Seoul: South Korean residents affected by December's Hebei Spirit oil spill are to benefit from a 100bn won ($106.3m) fund set up by Samsung Heavy Industries. The company has been under severe pressure to compensate victims affected by the spillage of about 10,000 tons of crude oil into the Yellow Sea after an SHI tug crashed into the Hebei Spirit.

Speaking at a press conference this morning at Seoul, Samsung Heavy's CEO Kim Jing-wan (pictured) was reported by the Yonhap News agency as saying, "We made this decision because we feel morally responsible for causing the accident and we wanted to fulfil our social responsibility... At the same time we also had to consider our shareholders' interests and the company's operational capability in fixing the amount (of compensation).'' The company has also pledged to build recreational facilities in the region for its employees to help revive the local economy.

However, despite the fact that the fund is supplementary to legally ordered compensation that will be meted out by insurance companies, local newspapers quote residents and local politicians as being disappointed by the offer on the basis that it imposes a financial limit of SHI's admitted accountability and compensation practises.  [29/02/08]