Oil slick perpetrator could end in court

PROSECUTION could threaten the perpetrator responsible for the environmental disaster caused by an oil leak at the Port of Felixstowe.The Environment Agency today refused to rule out legal action against Felixstowe Tank Developments Limited, operators of the pipeline that severed, spilling an estimated 2,000 gallons of the oil into the Orwell estuary.

PROSECUTION could threaten the perpetrator responsible for the environmental disaster caused by an oil leak at the Port of Felixstowe.

The Environment Agency today refused to rule out legal action against Felixstowe Tank Developments Limited, operators of the pipeline that severed, spilling an estimated 2,000 gallons of the oil into the Orwell estuary.

Louise Riley, spokeswoman for the agency, said: "Our investigation is underway and evidence is being collected at present. But at this stage we cannot comment on what legal action we shall be taking, if any."

Nobody from Felixstowe Tank Developments Limited was available for comment.


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The company, a subsidiary of Hutchinson Ports UK Limited, may have to go to court and defend its operating practices and contingency plans, that resulted in the damage to such a rich and diverse habitat.

More than 30 swans were rescued from Trimley and Loom Pit Lake and guillemots, waders and cormorants were also heavily affected.

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The birds were completely covered in the oil which, makes flying and searching for food difficult if not impossible. The oil is also very toxic and the birds swallow large amounts of it as they desperately preen themselves in an attempt to remove the sticky mess.

Oil is also threatening a 12-mile stretch of the Essex coastline.

The source has yet to be identified but there are fears that lumps of the emulsified oil, up to 1ft across, could have come from the Felixstowe incident, but. A clean-up operation has started but Lawrie Pyne, of Tendring District Council said: "The rescue centres will be swamped by oil covered birds which will be a disaster."

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