An appeals court has found the owners and crew of a Hong Kong-registered oil tanker accountable for an oil spill in waters off Taean County, South Chungcheong Province last December, overturning the judgment at first instance. Taean residents are now in principle able to seek compensation from both Samsung, the other firm in the collision, and Hebei Spirit Shipping in civil actions and compensation proceedings.
The Daejeon District Court on Wednesday sentenced the ship's captain to one-and-a-half years in jail and a fine of W20 million (US$1=W1,394). The first officer was sentenced to eight months and a fine of W10 million, and the company was fined W30 million.
The captain of the floating crane owned by Samsung Heavy Industries, who had been found cleared at first instance, was also sentenced to a year and a half in prison.
But the higher court reduced the sentences for the captain of the tugboat fleet from three years in jail and a fine of W2 million to two-and-a-half years and a W2 million fine, and the pilot of an assisting tugboat from an a year in jail to eight months.
The court rejected the appeal of Samsung Heavy, which was fined W30 million at first instance. Hebei Spirit is to appeal.