Friday, 25 February 2011

Exxon Valdez $2.5B oil spill ruling overturned

By James Vicini
June 25, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the record $2.5 billion in punitive damages that Exxon Mobil Corp had been ordered to pay for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the nation’s worst tanker spill.
By a 5-3 vote, the high court ruled that the punitive damages award should be slashed to a maximum amount equal to the total relevant compensatory damages of $507.5 million.
The justices overturned a ruling by a U.S. Court of Appeals that had awarded the record punitive damages to about 32,000 commercial fishermen, Alaska natives, property owners and others harmed by the spill.
In the majority opinion, Justice David Souter concluded the $2.5 billion in punitive damages was excessive under federal maritime law, and should be cut to the amount of actual harm.
Soaring oil prices have propelled Exxon Mobil to previously unforeseen levels of profitability in recent years; the company posted earnings of $40.6 billion in 2007.
It took Exxon Mobil just under two days to bring in $2.5 billion in revenue during the first quarter of 2007.
(Click here for the rest.)

250K liters of oil threaten to spill out of sunken ship

June 26, 2008
By Jojo Robles
Mla. Standard Today
June 25, 2008

AN OIL spill from the Sulpicio Lines ferry that capsized June 21 with more than 800 people on board could destroy coastal areas and aquatic life aroundSibuyan and nearby islands and take years to clean up.
The m/v Princess of the Stars was carrying 250,000 liters of bunker fuel in its hold when it capsized near Sibuyan Island in Romblon at the height oftyphoon Frank early Saturday, sources close to the investigation of the sinking of the ferry told Standard Today.
A team of investigators who flew over to inspect the overturned hull at close range said small quantities of the fuel had already leaked out of the disabled vessel, indicating that most of the toxic cargo was intact.
“There is evidence that some of the fuel is leaking around the vessel,” a source told Standard Today.
“But if the ship breaks up on its own or is forced open by rescuers looking for survivors, the oil could leak, damaging the environment and destroying the livelihood of fisherfolk in the area for years to come.”
Earlier, rescuers announced that they were planning to force open the hull of the Princess in an effort to find survivors. As of yesterday, only about 48 of 849 passengers and crew on the ship had survived, authorities said.
Divers retrieved only bodies from the capsized vessel yesterday and theCoast Guard said more were likely to be brought in over the next hours.
“Most of the bodies were floating inside. They were trapped when the seven-story ship suddenly tilted and capsized,” Navy spokesman Edgard Arevalosaid in a radio interview.
In August 2006, the m/t Solar 1 sank in waters near Guimaras Island off Iloilo, carrying down with it 1.8 million liters of bunker fuel and triggering the country’s worst oil spill.
The Solar 1 carried more fuel than the Princess, but the tanker’s dangerous cargo sank at least 700 meters in the water and several kilometers off the coast of the nearest island, minimizing its effects on the environment, the same source said.
(Click here for the rest.)