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Chennai oil spill

Tanker companies should be held responsible for clean up & compensation, legal experts say

February 01, 2017 01:17 am | Updated February 19, 2017 08:57 am IST

CHENNAI: The two companies whose cargo ships collided on Sunday causing a massive oil spill – now confirmed as more than 20 tonnes by the Indian Coast Guard – will have to pay up for the clean up compensation and remediation, legal and environmental experts say.

It is apparently The oil spill has already spread from Ennore to beyond Elliots beach, along the Chennai coast. “The ship owners will have to compensate for the damage caused to the environment, clean up activity. Under Sec. 15 of the NGT Act, 2010, compensation can be granted to those affected,” a senior legal expert on environment told The Hindu .

Those who are affected by the oil spill can also move the High Court for compensation under the Admiralty Jurisdiction. This will be heard as a civil suit, the expert said.

Since environment related cases are now handled by the National Green Tribunal, those affected can claim “unliquidated damages” after losses are ascertained.

Another environmental lawyer said the companies should be asked to clean up, remediate and compensate for the damage caused to the environment. Both the legal experts, however, declined to be named.

In fact, they (ship owners) can be, and need to be prosecuted under the Wildlife Protection Act. We have to examine if the turtles found dead on the beach were affected by the oil spill. Olive Ridley turtles are a Schedule 1 species,” he said.

However, for any action to be taken under the Act, the State government has to initiate prosecution. It can be done either by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, or delegated officers such as Pollution Control Board authorities.


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