Agreement Reached on Hong Kong Pellet Spill
Thursday, April 10, 2014
A volunteer collects plastic pellets washed up on a bank of Lamma Island during a cleanup operation in Hong Kong (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Regarding the massive spill of polypropylene plastic pellets into the Hong Kong waters from a cargo ship during typhoon Vicente in July 2012, and following active negotiations amongst the parties concerned, a Hong Kong Marine Department spokesperson said a settlement agreement was reached for a sum to be paid by the party concerned to the government to compensate the costs it incurred in cleaning up the plastic pellets.

The spokesperson explained that due to the complexity of the legal issues involved, the government, having taken into account the evidence and independent legal advice, considered the settlement sum reasonable, realistic and acceptable. It is also the view of the government to resolve as far as possible the matter in an amicable manner so as to reduce costs and resources that would otherwise have to be incurred if the matter was to be resolved by way of litigation. Further details of the agreement cannot be disclosed as the settlement agreement contains a usual confidentiality clause.

The incident happened on July 23, 2012 during typhoon Vicente, when a cargo ship sailing outside the southeastern waters of Hong Kong was forced to enter into Hong Kong waters. Seven containers on board the ship, including six containing around 150 metric tons of polypropylene plastic pellets, fell overboard. As a result, there was massive spill of polypropylene plastic pellets into Hong Kong waters.

A number of government departments, including the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Marine Department, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Environmental Protection Department, worked closely together to tackle the incident and conduct clean-up operations. The Government is thankful to civic organizations and members of the public who contributed in the clean-up operations.

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