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US$8.5m Settlement Ends Spill Dispute
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The dispute over compensation for an oil spill in the Pearl River Delta in 2004 has been settled.


The owners of the two ships involved in the collision that caused the pollution will pay local authorities and affected people US$8.5 million, according to Guangzhou Maritime Court yesterday.


"The one-and-a-half year long case has come to successful conclusion," said Hu Houbo, a spokesman of the court. "Both sides are satisfied with the result."


The vessel collision occurred on December 7, 2004 when the Panama-registered Hyundai Advance was sailing toward Singapore from Shenzhen Port and the German-registered MSC Ilona was on her way from Shenzhen to Shanghai.


The collision ruptured tanks storing fuel on MSC Ilona and more than 1,200 tons of heavy oil leaked into the river. The resultant oil slick, the biggest ever such incident in the river, was nine nautical miles long and 600 meters wide. It seriously damaged the environment and ecology in the waters off Guangdong Province.


Guangdong Maritime Bureau received US$4.132 million for its work in cleaning up the spill, Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Ocean and Aquatic Products Industry got US$3.5 million for its efforts to restore fishing resources and the AIU Insurance Company Shanghai branch won US$18,000 for damaged cargo.


The remaining US$850,000 went to 96 compensation claimants from Hainan Province who'd been affected by the pollution. The Hainan claimants withdrew their claim in July on the condition that the two bureaus lodged a compensation claim on their behalf.


(China Daily August 17, 2006)

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