Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

Business

Paris appeals court upholds Total conviction for 1999 'Erika' oil spill

Video by Philip CROWTHER

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-30

The Paris court of appeals on Tuesday confirmed the conviction and fine of 375,000 euros imposed on Total in a 2008 ruling that found the oil giant guilty of negligence for a 1999 oil spill off the coast of Brittany.

AFP - French oil giant Total on Tuesday lost a bid to overturn a Paris court decision finding it guilty of negligence over a 1999 shipwreck and oil spill off the coast of Brittany.
   
The Paris appeals court confirmed the conviction and a fine of 375,000 euros (500,000 dollars) that was imposed on Total in the 2008 ruling.
   
Total was found guilty of failing to take into account the age of the tanker Erika and of ignoring maintenance problems when it chartered the rusty 25-year-old vessel.
   
The Erika was carrying 30,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil when it broke in two and sank off the Brittany coast on December 12, 1999, polluting a large stretch of coastline and killing tens of thousands of seabirds.
   
The Paris criminal court had also ordered Total and three other parties in its initial ruling in 2008 to pay 192 million euros in compensation to civil plaintiffs in the case.
   
The appeals tribunal confirmed the lower court ruling that the owner and manager of the tanker -- along with the Italian RINA certification firm that found the tanker to be seaworthy -- were also at fault.
   
The ruling in one of France's worst environmental disasters established a legal precedent by recognising that polluters can be held accountable for harming the environment.
   
French beach resorts were deserted, fishing was halted and shellfish banned from consumption in the aftermath of the oil spill, leaving the local economy on its knees for years.
   
Presiding judge Joseph Valantin said that Total had "committed an error of negligence that is linked to the sinking" of the Erika.
   
Valentin said the Erika went down as a "direct consequence of the serious rust corrosion" and that this was caused by "insufficient maintenance of the ship."
 

Date created : 2010-03-30

  • FRANCE

    Toulouse court clears Total of reponsibility in AZF factory explosion

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Prosecutors seek maximum fine for Total in 1999 'Erika' oil spill

    Read more

COMMENT(S)