A district court has ruled that Samsung Heavy Industries’ tugboat crew is guilty for the Taean oil spill in South Korea on Dec 7, 2007.
Samsung Heavy Industries is expected to incur enormous costs for future civil proceedings between the residents affected by the spill, Samsung and the Hong Kong supertanker Hebei Spirit.
The crew of Hebei Spirit, the supertanker which was carrying the crude oil, has been acquitted.
- Tugboats were tugging the 11,800-ton barge carrying a Samsung Heavy Industries sea crane.
- The barge drifted and collided with the supertanker Hebei Spirit in waters northwest of Mallipo, Taean County, South Chungcheong Province.
- As a result of the collision, the Hebei Spirit leaked 12,547 kl of crude oil into the sea.
On June 23, the Daejeon District Court:
- sentenced a 51-year-old tugboat master (of Samsung Heavy Industries) identified as Cho to 3 years in prison and a fine of W2 million (US$1=W1,039) for violating the Maritime Pollution Prevention Act.
- sentenced a 45-year-old tugboat master identified as Kim to one year in jail for negligence, ordering him to be arrested in court and taken into custody.
It is reported that Cho and Kim apparently showed “no remorse but blamed bad weather or the supertanker” for the accident.
- fined Samsung Heavy Industries W30 million as prosecutors had demanded.
- Kim, the master of the sea crane barge was acquitted.
The court ruled: “The court is rejecting the prosecutors’ demand, considering that the crane barge is a motorless boat tugged by tugboats, so its master was not in a position to control its navigation.”