Chinese Fishermen Suing ConocoPhillips for $77M over Spill

By MarEx 2011-12-14 16:49:47

Chinese state media said on Wednesday that a group of Chinese fisherman is suing US oil company, ConocoPhillips, for 490 million yuan (US $77 million) for damages associated with the oil spill off China’s northeastern coast earlier this year.

The suit stems from incidents in early June where more than 3,000 barrels of oil and oil-based mud product were spilled into the Bohai Bay in northeast China.  The ConocoPhillips-operated Penglai 19-3 field had a string of mishaps, drawing widespread criticisms from the public and warnings from authorities of China. 

Lawyers filed the case on behalf of the 107 fisherman in the Tianjin Maritime Court this week, according to AFP reports, despite an earlier lawsuit of the same nature being rejected by the court in September for lack of evidence.  The fishermen are claiming the oil spill in Bohai Bay killed their clams and sea cucumbers.

Along with the local fisherman, environmental groups have accused the US oil giant and its Chinese affiliate, CNOOC, of covering up the spill for nearly a month before disclosing the news.  Both firms deny those allegations, and ConocoPhillips stresses that they have cooperated with authorities as soon as the incident occurred in the Bohai Bay. 

The news of this lawsuit is only one of three on the horizon for ConocoPhillips, as they are already facing one by more than 200 fisherman seeking 30 million yuan, as well as a pending suit from the Chinese State Oceanic Administration who have said they also plan to sue over the leak

The oil spill in question has polluted more than 6,200 square km of water in the Bohai Bay, an area roughly about nine times the size of Singapore, according to a Xinhua report.


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