Shell OK with Nigerian oil spill verdict

Jan. 30, 2013 at 8:42 AM
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A court in The Hague, Netherlands, on Wednesday ordered Royal Dutch Shell to pay damages in one of five cases involving Nigerian oil pollution.

Judge Henk Wien of the district court of The Hague ruled Shell was sentenced to pay damages in one of the five cases brought by Nigerian farmers.

"In the four cases as regards an oil spill in 2004 near the village of Goi and as regards an oil spill in 2005 near the village of Oruma, Shell Nigeria had taken sufficient precautions to prevent the sabotage from its underground pipelines," Wien said.

Nigerian villagers and the Dutch division of advocacy group Friends of Earth sued Shell for widespread pollution in the Niger Delta.

Geert Ritsema, a spokesman for environmental group Milieudefensie, one of the parties to the suit, was quoted as saying he was "flabbergasted" by the judge's ruling and planned to appeal the verdict.

The U.N. Environment Report reported in 2011 that oil pollution from more than 50 years of operations in the Ogoniland region was worse than suspected. Slicks several inches thick were reported in the region.

Shell said it was committed to cleaning up spills whether they resulted from sabotage or operational issues.

Shell Vice President for the Environment Allard Castelein was quoted as saying the company was satisfied with the ruling.

"But none of this helps resolve the local situation which is serious because of the sabotage," he said.

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