26 August 2004
BRUSSELS – Fluxys, the company managing Belgium’s gas network, has offered EUR 1 million to the victims of the Ghislenghien gas blast.
The sum was approved by Fluxys management at the company’s six monthly meeting and will be given to organisations helping the victims of the 30 July gas explosion.
A minute’s silence was held at the start of the meeting for the 21 people who died when a gas pipe blew up at an industrial site in Ghislenghien.
Fluxys is also going to file a legal case over attacks against the ‘integrity’ of the company’s pipelines.
This will be done at an “opportune moment”, said a company spokesman.
Some legal experts have not been impressed by Fluxys’ gesture, however.
Professor Hubert Claassens, an expert in civil responsibility at the Catholic University of Leuven, said that such a move was essential.
“There is no reason why the gas network manager Fluxys should not compensate the victims,” he said.
“Looking at it from a strictly legal point of view, Fluxys is responsible and it knows this very well. It is scandalous that its insurers are taking a head in sand approach,” he argued.
The enquiry on the causes of the accident will probably take years, stressed Claassens, but added that the problem of civil responsibility would likely be resolved sooner.
“The probability that Fluxys will not be recognised as civilly responsible is minimal. Fluxys was managing the pipe network that exploded and is therefore responsible for any defects. The company has already admitted it by conceding that security has been tightened since the explosion,” argued Claassens.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news