Ship pays R45,000 in settlement of alleged oil spill


29-April-2005

Supreme Court Justice Bernadin Renaud formally dismissed the case on Thursday after confirmation of the payment, which went to government coffers in foreign exchange at around 6,000 Euros.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, authorities spotted an oil slick in between the vessel, the Frio Canarias, and the fishing port in the late evening on April 11.

Environment officials were notified in the early hours of April 12, and authorities said they later discovered a white substance believed to be an oil dispersing agent from the same ship.

The ship's local agent said the settlement was not an admission of guilt by the vessel's owners, who reportedly felt that the Frio Canarias had a strong defence against the charges. The length of time required to contest the allegations would have cost the vessel more money than the payment itself, according to the agent.

Environment officials said they were unsure exactly how much oil had escaped into the sea because of the dispersing agent, but the environmental damage was believed to be relatively minor.

The Frio Canarias is a Panamanian-registered vessel which transports frozen tuna in bulk. The last time the vessel was in Seychelles was some 10 years ago, according to the ship's agent.

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