Claims Over 2009 Dubai Star Fuel Spill Settled

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The U.S. government has setted its claim for unpaid cleanup costs related to the spill of 422 gallons of fuel into San Francisco Bay.
     The Dubai Star spilled 422 gallons of bunker fuel overboard in October 2009. Uncle Sam filed suit earlier this year based on $474,000 that it said the ship’s owner, operator and insurer still owed for the cleanup.
     The complaint against South Harmony Shipping Inc., Pioneer Ship Management Service, and Shipowners’ Insurance and Guaranty Co. invoked the authority of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which establishes strict liability for spills.
     It was NRC Environmental Services that the government hired to remove the bunker fuel from the bay, using funds from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that must be repaid.
     Vickey Quinn, the Justice Department attorney who filed the suit, noted that the “defendants failed and refused to pay the full costs associated with the removal of the discharge and pollution caused by the OPA Incident” when presented with the claim.
     Dubai Star litigation in state court ended in 2012 with a $1.9 million settlement for the California Department of Fish and Game, the East Bay Regional Park District, the city and county of San Francisco, and Alameda County. That sum included response costs and penalties for contamination that killed more than 100 seabirds and damaged over 200 acres of shoreline.
     South Harmony and Pioneer are required under that deal to follow strict oil-transfer procedures when in San Francisco Bay. Such procedures include the use of written loading plans, device monitoring and heightened reporting requirements for spills.
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore gave few details in a Friday order that dismisses the federal case in light of a settlement.
     She said all known claims by the government have been resolved. Attorneys have not responded to a request for a copy of the agreement.

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