Fuel company fined for pollution in TCI
A December 2010 spill costs the company $10,000.
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos, Wednesday April 6, 2011 – Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) fuel giant Sun Oil Limited, previously known as Shell Bahamas, has been fined $10,000 for an oil spill more than three months ago.
The fine was handed down in the magistrate court after the company was found guilty of depositing an offensive substance, namely diesel fuel on the Coast, contrary to the Coastal Protection Ordinance.
The Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR), which took Sun Oil to court, said the court victory signals its strong commitment to prosecuting big businesses for pollution in the TCI.
“These islands are beautiful by natures, and the DECR has a mammoth task to ensure that the environment is not destroyed. Armed with newly established anti-pollution ordinances, the DECR will take all steps necessary to ensure that all polluters pay,” said Director of the DECR, Wesley Clerveaux. “It makes perfect sense that if you pollute this environment then you should pay the cost.”
The incident that led to Sun Oil being fined occurred on December 30, 2010 when approximately 721 gallons of diesel spilled at the company’s pump facility on South Dock, Providenciales. Although much of the spill was absorbed into the soil, about 100 gallons of it reached the marine environment.
The DECR presented evidence which showed that several inspections of the facility were conducted by staff of the DECR in collaboration with the Fire and Rescue Department prior to the spill, on November 17, 18, and 19. Following these inspections, a report was prepared of the findings and the departments concerns over the rusted pipes as a potential source of leakage was shared with the company. The Department urged the company to take urgent remedial actions to avoid an eminent accident or disaster.
The defendants explained that the spill occurred as a result of repair works which were being undertaken at the pump station, and apologised to the court for the mishap. Since the spill, the company was able to show that it took immediate action to clean up the environment and fast-track repair and remedial work to the fuel pump station.
The magistrate took into consideration the circumstances which led to the spill and the remedial action undertaken by Sun Oil in fining the company less than half the maximum $25,000 penalty.
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