Samsung Heavy Industries is to deliver an apology for its role in causing the worst oil spill in Korean history off the coast of Taean in the West Sea.
A Samsung Heavy Industries spokesman said Monday his company will place a printed apology in the Tuesday edition of newspapers. In the apology, the company promises to do its utmost to restore the damaged environment in the region and help people affected by the oil spill. This is the first time since the incident on Dec. 7 that the company has apologized.
Daejeon prosecutors concluded that the crash between an oil tanker and a floating crane owned by Samsung Heavy Industries that caused the spill was "a case of mutual negligence."
Prosecutors indicted Samsung Heavy Industries, oil tanker owner Hebei Spirit Shipping, as well three South Korean seamen from the Samsung barge and the oil tanker's captain and navigator, on charges of violating a law on the prevention of sea pollution. The Samsung crane continued on its way despite the bad weather and crashed with the oil tanker to cause an oil spill of 12,547 kiloliters.
Prosecutors said the oil tanker is also responsible for the incident, because it did not make active efforts to avoid the disaster. However, prosecutors did not decide which bore the bigger responsibility and the scale of compensation must be finalized in a civil suit. Taean residents are up in arms about the decision, saying that it fell far short of expectations. They want more than W300 billion, the compensation limit set by the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund.
Asked about why it belatedly decided to issue an apology, Samsung Heavy Industries said it was reluctant to respond to calls for a public apology, since the cause of the oil spill had not been clearly identified and its apology would have affected the investigation. But now the prosecutors made their decision, it decided to print the apology.
Residents in six cities and counties in South Chungcheong Province affected by the oil spill will receive W55.8 billion in emergency funds.