Settlement Reached In R.I. Oil Spill Case

Thursday, December 30, 1999
The owner, operator and insurer of the vessel North Cape have agreed to restock 1.24 million lobsters and pay $8 million to restore other natural resources injured by the 1996 oil spill off the southern coast of Rhode Island. The Governor and federal officials announced that they have reached a "settlement in principle" with West of England Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association, the insurer of the companies responsible for the spill. The trustees and responsible parties will draft a mutually acceptable consent decree, which must be submitted to the United States District Court for Rhode Island for approval. Commenting on the resolution, Jan Reitsma, trustee for the State of Rhode Island, said, "This settlement represents a big win for the people of the state who use and enjoy our magnificent natural resources. We can now get the restoration underway as soon as possible." The restoration funds will benefit several wildlife species, including piping plover, protected by the Endangered Species Act, common loon and eider, migratory fish and shellfish, including quahogs and lobsters. Land adjacent to coastal salt ponds will also be acquired to improve water quality. The settlement will restock 1.24 million lobsters and provide funding to implement the following restoration projects: o Build predator exclusion cages to protect threatened piping plover; o Acquire land in northern New England to maintain loon and eider productivity; o Acquire land in the coastal salt pond region to improve water quality and prevent ecological impacts from future land development; o Remove or modify obstructions to fish runs in tributaries to the salt ponds; o Transplant shellfish, such as quahogs, from a portion of the Providence River to shellfish sanctuaries in Narragansett Bay; and o Provide oversight of the lobster restocking effort. In January of 1996, the tug Scandia and the barge North Cape grounded on Moonstone Beach on Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge in southern Rhode Island, resulting in the state's largest oil spill -- 828,000 gallons of home heating oil. The spill killed roughly nine million lobsters, more than 400 loons, and 1,600 other marine birds, as well as over a million pounds of clams, oysters, amphipods and other species. The spill shut down the lobster industry for five months and reduced the productivity of the area's piping plover population. Several agencies have been working on the public's behalf to assess and restore natural resources injured by this oil spill. For this spill, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked together as trustees. Shortly after the North Cape oil spill, new regulations for conducting natural resource damage assessments under the federal Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990 became effective. These regulations were designed to expedite the restoration of injured natural resources and provide opportunities for the responsible party and the public to participate in the damage assessment process. The expedited approach articulated in the OPA regulations was embraced by both government officials and the responsible parties. "NOAA's primary goal was to restore the natural resources injured by the North Cape oil spill, and to get there as quickly as possible. We believe the North Cape settlement demonstrates the benefits of working cooperatively with the public and those responsible for the spill toward the goal of restoration," said Craig O'Connor, Acting General Counsel for NOAA. The final settlement is subject to negotiation of a mutually acceptable consent decree, which will have to be approved by government officials before being filed in Federal District Court. The consent decree will be lodged with the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. After lodging, a 30-day public comment period will be announced. The trustees will consider all public comments prior to seeking the Court's approval of the consent decree. Restoration of injured natural resources is expected to begin in the spring of 2000.

Maritime Today

The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter November 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds


Thyssenkrupp Bids for Australian Sub Contract

German industrial group Thyssenkrupp has submitted an offer to the Australian government for a contract to build stealth submarines potentially worth tens of billions of euros,

Ferreira Quits Petrobras

Murilo Ferreira quit as chairman of Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the state-controlled oil company said on Monday, without disclosing the reason for his decision.

Wärtsilä Sternguard In-Water Serviceable Seal Launched

Wärtsilä, the marine and offshore industry's leading solutions and services provider, introduces an innovative new seal that can be fully serviced underwater, without setting up a habitat.


Panama Canal Wait Times Back to Normal

Waiting times for ships at the Panama Canal have returned to normal after poor weather and a spike in traffic caused delays for several weeks, the waterway's operator said on Monday.

Transas ECDIS Passes New IHO & IEC Standards

Transas Navi-Sailor 4000 ECDIS has passed all DNV-GL tests according to the new IHO & IEC standards. The new generation of the Transas ECDIS complies with the

Sustainable Shipping Initiative leans on shipping ahead of COP21

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) is stepping up pressure on the shipping industry ahead of the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris, says The Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia.

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0794 sec (13 req/sec)