Total to face trial over Erika oil slick disaster

3rd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 3, 2006 (AFP) - French oil giant Total is to face trial over the 1999 sinking of the oil tanker Erika, which soiled a vast stretch of France's north-western Brittany coastline, sources close to the case said on Friday.

PARIS, Feb 3, 2006 (AFP) - French oil giant Total is to face trial over the 1999 sinking of the oil tanker Erika, which soiled a vast stretch of France's north-western Brittany coastline, sources close to the case said on Friday.

The company is accused of "pollution and accessory to endangering lives", the sources said.

One of the company's legal directors, Bertrand Thoulin, and two Total subsidiaries are also due to appear before the Paris court, as well as the Italian maritime classification company Rina.

French authorities placed Total, Rina, the ship's Indian captain and a dozen other organisations under investigation in 2001, after several expert reports found that the Erika was not seaworthy at the time of the accident.

The Maltese-registered ship, chartered by Total and carrying 30,900 tonnes of heavy fuel, split in two and sank in heavy weather off the coast of Brittany in December 1999.

Its wreck released an oil slick soiling 400 kilometres of the Brittany coastline and killing up to 150,000 birds.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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