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VI Gov’t wins compensation claims over 2006 ‘Oil Spill’

The accident occurred in VI waters on October 15, 2006 involving the MV Vagabond, which was owned by Caribbean Transport Ltd. Photo: GIS
The impact caused significant damage to the vessel, and the captain and crew had to be rescued. Photo: GIS
The impact caused significant damage to the vessel, and the captain and crew had to be rescued. Photo: GIS
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - The Government of the Virgin Islands (VI) was awarded the sum of $221,935.86 for clean-up costs, as a result of an oil spill that occurred in the VI waters in 2006.

The High Court of Justice granted judgment in favour of the Government, in a judgment delivered on June 4, 2018 and included compensation for labour and salvage assessment costs, as a result of the accident that occurred at sea on October 15, 2006, involving the MV Vagabond, which was owned by Caribbean Transport Ltd. 

Details of the ruling were disclosed in a press release issued by the Government Information Service (GIS) on August 2, 2018, which notes that the claim for compensation, was filed in court by the Attorney General’s Chambers in October 2012, seeking full compensation for clean-up costs in the amount of $251,329.76.

Irrefutable Evidence

According to the GIS missive, the judge found that there was irrefutable evidence that the Government provided services for the clean-up process and had to call on an external US based firm to assist.

Senior Crown Council Giselle Jackman-Lumy and Crown Counsel Sarah Potter-Washington appeared on behalf of the Attorney General.

The Defendant was represented by Richard Rowe, of the law firm DenJen.

Mrs Jackman-Lumy said, she was satisfied with the outcome of the proceedings and indicated that considerable time and effort was put in to pursuing the matter.

Director of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), Ms Sharleen S. DaBreo, explained that the accident occurred just before midnight on Sunday, October 25, 2006, while the vessel was en-route to Anguilla. 

The impact caused significant damage to the vessel, and the captain and crew had to be rescued. 

Ms DaBreo said, “..this required a national response under the direction of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and subsequently the activation of the National Emergency Operations Centre."

The operations, she said, "went on for days and involved a number of local and international agencies including those from the United States Government...The Attorney General’s Chambers worked extremely hard to prepare a solid case for presentation to the High Court judge and they were successful in their delivery.”

Legal Framework

The Director said her department has since worked with a number of other departments and private sector agencies, to increase the level of awareness about oil pollution in the waters and on land and to establish the necessary legal framework. 

 “We have seen the success of the public awareness and education campaigns as the number of spills have decreased significantly.  We continue to inform and educate the public about the effects that can be caused by oil spill on land and at sea...We offer training to build response capacity among our responders and enforcement agencies,” Ms DaBreo added.

This is the first matter of this kind that has been taken to the High Court, that is said to have now set a precedent for how further claims will be handled.

The judgment is also a significant win for the Government of the VI and will now lead to greater focus and attention on the finalisation of legislation to support the enforcement of appropriate standards to prevent these types of events from occurring in the future. 

The Ministry of Communication and Works has developed a draft Oil Spill Prevention and Pollution Bill that is expected to be finalised and taken to the House of Assembly for approval.

Oil spills are extremely harmful to marine and land-based ecosystems and persons wishing to dispose of waste oil are asked to take their containers to the incinerator plant located at Pockwood Pond.


9 Responses to “VI Gov’t wins compensation claims over 2006 ‘Oil Spill’”

  • me again (02/08/2018, 16:23) Like (1) Dislike (6) Reply

    The late Capt Hugo Fahie wouldda sa “POOR MAN KIND “
    We here know that “ God don’t like ugly”
    Poor Tom

    To the S..... family ; you have been FINED ; some will be JAILED .

    God aint asleep

  • 1 (02/08/2018, 16:49) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
    Finally they won something
  • biker (02/08/2018, 16:53) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    12 years! Wow, that case took a long time.

    Who is going to pay the $220k to the BVI government? The shipowner, Caribbean Transport Ltd., or their P&I insurers for oil pollution?
    • Crooks (02/08/2018, 19:56) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      No one. They already paid more than that to the thi/n@ing lavv£s.
      • No one wins, but uno. (09/08/2018, 17:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I agree 10000 %. No one wins but them anymore. They latch on like suckers or milking cows. They stretch things to the max and take total advantage of people, or should I say disadvantage. These cases should be a percentage of costs, not just a perpetual needle drawing all your blood. Some persons actually have to work for bread uno.
  • The Real Judge (02/08/2018, 21:44) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
    It took Government six years to put the matter in court, then it took another six years to get a judgement. This is really sad on our Judicial System. Why it had to take six years to get a judgement? This tells me that our Judicial System is not up to justice standard. Thanks to our Attorney General who had the balls to put a case together. I am proud to call myself a BVIslander.
  • Trucker (03/08/2018, 02:01) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Lets see if ANY of those that lined the coast of BaughersBay owners will be fined
    Along with ALL of these presently littering the Territory

    Whats good for Peter should be good for Paul
    We are waiting and watching ; thing NOW start
  • HAHA (03/08/2018, 10:16) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
    is it true this happened cause they were watching porno movies instead of standing watch?

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